Hey Exxon, have I got a marketing plan for you

You’re probably wondering, why am I talking about the Gulf oil disaster in a marketing blog? Well, right now, too much of it seems to be about marketing and public relations. For example:

  • Newspeople and BP reps keep calling this an oil “spill.” In case you haven’t noticed, it’s a gusher, not a spill. It’s a national disaster, and calling it a spill makes it sound accidental and inconsequential.
  • BP likes to report their “spill” in barrels rather than gallons. Recent estimates say up to 100,000 barrels of oil may be spilling into the ocean each day. That sounds better than 4,200,000 gallons.
  • Transocean and Halliburton have watched their names pretty much disappear from the headlines. Did they get lucky or was it due to slick maneuvering on their part? I don’t know for sure (but I do know that Transocean is profiting from it).

In any crisis, especially an enormous disaster like this, action is your best marketing and PR. And BP seems to be missing the point, over and over again. That’s why I came up with a different marketing plan.

See, BP has supertankers that could suck up the oil, but they refuse to use them. Saudi Arabia used them in 1993 to great success—keeping secret (until recently) their 800 million gallon “spill.”

All oil companies have supertankers, right?

Imagine Exxon bringing in its own supertankers and saving the day. I can see the headline now: Instead of F-You Exxon, It’s Now Thank You Exxon.

Would it cost money? Yes, but Exxon with $19.4 billion profit from 2009 and $44 billion profit from 2008 can afford it. Plus, the government will surely reimburse them to try and save face for their lousy handling of this mess.

Or hey, even better, look what I just found. Kevin Costner can save us. He has machines that can suck up the oil and separate it from the water. But he won’t send them in because BP hasn’t sent the check yet. Really?

Let me repeat: This is a national (soon to be international) disaster. Send the damn things in. You’ll get your money. Besides, Kevin, you still owe us for The Postman…and Waterworld.

In fact, I think we’d all be willing to make you a deal that if you save the Gulf (and soon the Atlantic), all Americans would be willing to pay to see whatever movie you put out next. We’ll even cheer loudly when you insert another giant statue of yourself at the end (a la Postman).

Heck, to anyone who saves us from this oil gushing, ocean killing disaster, we’ll gladly let you post banners or buoys saying “This ocean saved for you by _______.” C’mon, what better publicity is there than that?


Follow-up to last week’s blog post: Congratulations to Skip Shuda! I know many people read the Delivering Happiness review, but Skip was the only one who commented, so he wins. Thanks for the comment, Skip! I hope you like the book.



  1. skipshoe · June 15, 2010

    Per Woody Allen, 80% of life is just showing up. Now, if we can get Exxon and Kevin Costner to show up in the Gulf…

    many thanks for the book and shoutout.

    • ctmarcom · June 15, 2010

      Hey Skip, Thank you for commenting on both this post and my last post. I think you’ll enjoy the book. I’ll get it in the mail Thursday, unless I can sneak to the PO tomorrow. What a perfect quote that is. No one seems to be showing up to save the Gulf–and all those livelihoods at stake.

  2. peggoc · June 15, 2010

    Wow, Kevin Costner as savior. Life does imitate art sometimes, huh? Now, for God’s sake, let’s end the standoff over payment, BP, and put those machines to work.

    • ctmarcom · June 15, 2010

      Funny, right? (The life imitates art part.) But, I swear I’ll go see every movie Costner makes if he does end up saving the gulf. And the people in the gulf might be convinced to put up a statue of him if he does it quickly enough. Every oil company with a rig in the gulf should be there helping.

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