On May 19th the first tweet was posted: “We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come.”
And 20 minutes later another: “Think about it this way, the ocean is like rootbeer and oil is like ice cream. We just made America a giant rootbeer float!”
Even though the Twitter account handle account is labeled BPGlobalPR the content being posted during the past 6-7 days has been a nightmare for BP’s actual PR team. Someone (who is clearly having fun) decided to mock BP’s poor handling of the oil spill with witty one-liners such as, “Jesus walked on water and soon you can too! (Please pray for BP, we’re losing a lot of oil).”
The account has become quite popular – attracting over 25,000 followers in this short time, more than double the number of followers for BP’s official corporate Twitter account and Twitter account covering the oil spill combine. Even more scary for BP is the amount of re-tweets this fake account is getting, which is what’s driving it’s visibility.
This situation provides other companies with an idea of how social media can be used against them during an ugly situation. Quick, honest responses can do a lot in image control and management, which BP is now learning about first hand.