Twitter's fake BP spokesman too slick for the oil company
As if the all-too-real BP oil spill weren't enough of a circus, a satirical Twitter account called @BPGlobalPR adds some dark humor to a sludgy situation.
The fake BP Twitter page was created a week ago and already has 42,000 followers -- dwarfing BP's real account, @BP_America, which has 5,700. The person pulling the strings of @BPGlobalPR, who refused to reveal himself or even break character in an interview with The Times, spills barrels of dark humor onto the international calamity.
@BPGlobalPR's fictional character, Terry, moves to stir up further controversy beyond the real-life disaster and so-far disastrous cleanup attempts that have sent BP's stock sliding 17.5 points since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon spill.
Since then, we've seen a ludicrous parade of headlines, toxic name-calling, contributions from Kevin Costner and numerous TV appearances by Bill Nye the Science Guy, the children's show host who is apparently now an authority on the issue.
The @BPGlobalPR Twitter profile vilifies the company further. Some fan favorites from the Twitter page include:
Catastrophe is a strong word, let's all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy.
The good news: Mermaids are real. The bad news: They are now extinct. #bpcares
We just saw a shark fight an octopus inside the geyser. Almost made this whole thing worth it.
We tracked down the fictional Terry and had a chat via e-mail. Throughout the exchange, he refused to break character (or talk on the phone). He did, however, note that the project has netted more than $3,000 for the nonprofit Gulf Restoration Network through the sale of $25 "BP cares" T-shirts (in green and black, a nice mesh of the colors of money and oil).
"Companies screw up and then they hire folks like me to come in to make it look like they're doing something while they figure out how to make money again," the fake public relations representative wrote. "BP is doing everything we can to save our reputation and hopefully salvage some oil out of all this. We're making a ton of shirts and commercials about how we care, and I cleaned an ugly bird yesterday."
The page quickly caught the attention of numerous media outlets, which in turn flagged representatives of the oil giant -- the real one. "It’s a shame, but obviously people are entitled to their views," one spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
Spokesman Toby Odone told AdAge that he wasn't aware of any attempts by the company to have the feed taken down. He added that the satirical account had changed its logo from the signature green BP image to a black one (with some dark substance spilling off of it).
The bogus BP spokesman took a characteristically opposing stance. "I've heard rumors of fake BP PR accounts, and I assure you if we find out who is in charge of them, we will annihilate them," he wrote.
-- Mark Milian
Photo: Workers attemting to clean up oil on a beach in Port Fourchon, La. on May 24. Credit: Daniel Beltra / EPA