Those great BP ads

Some of the really good issues ads on TV these days come from oil giant British Petroleum (BP). They feature ordinary looking people who ask tough questions about energy policy to which BP just responds with a brief statement that they are working on it and "it's a start." Very understated, earnest and quite effective. Great website, too. Compare the BP ads to the annoying and terrible oil and gas industry ads that feature actors and quick cuts, repeated key words and plaintive entreaties (eyes rolled skywards), like "just tell us the truth," followed by a URL where presumably you will find truthful answers to the questions the oil and gas industry just told you to ask. Surpassingly awful. The only thing worse is the actual MSNBC show they appear on, Slimeball with Chris Matthews, one of the dumbest people to have his own infotainment hour. He appears to have only two neurons, the one he uses to breathe with and the other one he uses to interrupt his guests.

Back to the BP ads. If you didn't know better, you'd think this was a company trying to make an honest effort to solve a difficult problem. If you didn't know better. For example, if you didn't know that BP has had longstanding deadly safety safety problems, like the explosion in their Texas City refinery last year that killed 15 workers and injured 170. Or that they have been identified as having the nation's worst polluting plant, releasing three times the amount of toxins as second place Exxon Moil Corportation's Baton Rouge facility. Or that OSHA had fined BP North America $2.4 million for unsafe operations at an Ohio refinery. George Bush's OSHA. It was that bad. Or that BP is responsible for the largest ever-oil spill ( 267,000 gallons) on Alaska's North Slope at Prudhoe Bay (see Jordan Barab's blog, Confined Space for this and much more on the earnest and thoughtful folks at BP).

Those ads are really good, though. If you didn't know better.


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I used to work for an large chemical conglomerate in Houston before I retired from corporate life, and at the time I did, some of our US ops were bought out by BP--technically one of those LLC mergers. I could tell you so many hell-raising stories about all the oil and plastics companies it would make your hair curl. Fact is, processing chemicals is a very dangerous business, and you're not allowed major mistakes of any kind. BP is no worse or better than most of them.

Marissa: Yes, they are a bunch of bad actors. But BP is worse than most. Do a search on BP at Confined Space and you will find the whole steaming pile of shit that is the BP record -- at least the public record.

Just PR BS to soften their sordid "evil" friggin image. Behind those ads are a bunch of cretins hell-bent on killing, maiming, posioning and controlling billions of people. They are the $$ behind Bu$hCo so don't believe a thing those ads say. TOTAL BULLSHIT!!

As bad as BP is -- they are one of the few energy conglomerates doing significant research and production of alternative energy methods. BP has arguably the most comprehensive solutions available for solar power in the world. They also produce significant amounts of the worlds wind power infrastructure.

They are the only conglomerate that I see using thier profits in the oil/gas market to develop alternative power sources to any great extent.

Dan R.: Maybe they should use some of their profits to keep their workers safe and the communities that host them clean.

I agree with Dan R. All the oil companies have done really terrible things (Shell and Nigeria, ExxonMobil and the oil spill disasters, et al ad infinitum), for which they should continue to be held accountable, but at least BP are focussing on future, cleaner methods of technology.

In this country, all the other oil companies are fighting against even basic measures like ethanol additives, and other energy company lobbyists are promoting the destruction of sites of cultural heritage to indiginous populations by wasteful and dangerous uranium mining, or promoting the status quo of dirty coal mining and burning for power.

I'm not excusing BP's terrible record. However, I think the efforts they're making in some areas are better than the absolute nothing that others offer. It seems it will take a large corporation to jump on board to bring alternative renewable energy sources into the mainstream, and it looks like BP is the best shot there at the moment.

Unfortunately, out here, one can't elect to vote with one's feet (refuse to use petroleum products) because the distances are too large. My nearest city is a good 15 day walk away... and there's only one service station in town (Mobil) so that's what I use. Research into better alternatives for personal transport can't come soon enough.

By attack rate (not verified) on 17 Jun 2006 #permalink

attack, perhaps what is needed is not better personal transport, but better urban (including town and community) design, so you don't need to get stuck driving everywhere unless you really want to. Certainly a more sensible approach to community design and encouraging non-motorized modes could cut out a huge fraction of unnecessary car trips.

I do have the sense that BP is doing more alternative-energy research, but it's entirely possible that I'm just swayed by their advertising, and as revere says, they don't appear to be putting much investment into their own workers. But the big guys are all that same. I never thought it made much sense to villainize Exxon any more than the others for the Valdez: they all used the same tanker technology, as I understand it, and Exxon's problem was more bad luck than anything else. They're all evil, and they're all trying (and succeeding) to turn a profit from our insatiable taste for oil.

Finally, and slightly a propos of revere's post, for a couple of commercials that will make your head explode, try these.