BP’s marketing stupidity flows even faster than its oil

I have never said this so early in a year before but … the worst marketing of the year competition has been decided. BP’s ongoing attempts to clean up its reputation as it fails to clean up the Gulf are so horrendous it is impossible for anyone else to catch up.

It is only fair to point out that BP has used a ringer, someone whose skills are so extraordinary that having him on the team is almost like cheating. I speak, of course, of soon-to-be-unemployed CEO Tony Hayward. Hayward is so astoundingly dangerous in front of a microphone that he makes Joe Biden and former GM CEO Rick Waggoner seem like the second coming of Ronald Reagan.

street-giant-BP-cares-white-thumb First there was the spectacularly stupid whine about wanting his life back. In one little phrase Hayward made it clear that he views this entire incident as an imposition on him and can’t quite remember that actual lives have been lost.

But wait, that’s not all! Today he replied to his critics thusly: "They’ve thrown some words at me, but I’m a Brit. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” OK everyone, put down the tar and feathers and go get some sticks and stones. If Mr. Hayward continues on in this manner his PR staff will likely be first in line to deliver the wood-and-rock therapy.

Speaking of BP’s PR staff … no one – not even John McCain – can win an award of this magnitude all by themselves. Mr. Hayward is being aided and abetted by a group of people whom I must assume are paid many millions of dollars a year and whom I wouldn’t let promote a church car wash. These are people like BP spokesman Randy Prescott: who said, “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.”

But, let’s be honest, these are just individual gaffes from individual idiots. This is really an enterprise-wide award which takes enterprise-wide effort to take it up another level and execute some truly world-class stupidity. To wit a brief list:

Congrats to all those responsible at BP and God help us all.

Top 10 Marketing Blunders of 2008

Yeah, there’s a lot more than 10 here. What can I say? It was a very good year for very bad things.

(PS: If you liked this would you mind going here and voting for it on Digg?)

GRAND PRIZE FOR SUSTAINED ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORT

(tie)

The John McCain Presidential Campaign

  • “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
  • Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
  • Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
  • Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
  • Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
  • “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
  • “Lipstick on a pig”
  • Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).

GM

Runners Up

  1. Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
  2. Framingham State College  uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
  3. Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
  4. Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
  5. JetBlue lives up to Southwest’s parody ad by charging for pillows.
  6. Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone
  7. Residents of Lesbos sue those other lesbians over brand name
  8. Motrin gets headache from viral moms video
  9. Butcher’s ads feature “Meat Products, Fresh Service” on naked woman
  10. Hershey asks if you’ve found Mr. Goodbar

Special Jury Awards

Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been

The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching

Product Failure

The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards

Previous years’ lists

Penguin seal

I met Mike Rowe and you didn’t … Nyah nyah.

So I was at the ANA’s annual conference last week which is why no posts in a while. This year’s was held in Orlando which made Mrs. Collateral Damage and CD jr. very happy as they piggy backed on to go visit the local Mouse emporium. Sure, I got to interview the CEO and CMO of Procter & Gamble and the CMO of Charles Schwab and the marketing boss for Clorox but more importantly I SHOOK HANDS WITH MIKE ROWE. Mr. R, host of the incredibly great and gross TV show “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery, emcee’d the Marketer of The Year Awards for Brandweek. His timing was dead on and he was funny as ever, except when he had to do a couple of scripted bits, but that wasn’t his fault. It was more than a wee bit odd to have this chronicler of the down-and-very-dirty and real speaking infront of a group of people who who would really like it if their work was mistaken for authentic … but hey that’s what irony is all about isn’t it?

OuchFor those of you who care, here is a picture of me at registration for the ANA. All journalists had a barcode tattooed on to them. For what it’s worth the UPC for journalists does start with a 666.