BP Facebook boycott and BP Twitter: PR setback won’t hurt profits

a montage of hundreds of faces on a black background

The BP Facebook boycott and a fake BP Twitter page are PR problems, but BP's global profits are too huge for the movement to have an impact. Flickr photo.

A “boycott BP” movement driven by social media is gathering steam as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 continues unabated. Humorists are also using social media to affect BP’s reputation with bogus a BP Twitter account. And BP oil leak parody products like satirical T-shirts are selling like hotcakes. But even though BP is living a public relations nightmare, analysts say the giant oil company will see little effect on its profits

BP boycott  hits social media

BP boycott organizers say buying gas from other brands would hit the oil company where it hurts, short of the expense incurred dealing with the disaster. Public Citizen had collected more than 11,000 signatures Wednesday after launching a BP Boycott Pledge on its website. A Facebook boycott group called Boycott BP with more than 75,000 members implores consumers to take their cash advances elsewhere to buy gas. But convenience may trump the the act of signing a pledge online. The Facebook boycott has had little effect so far in real life. The Washington Post surveyed customers at BP gas stations across the Washington region. Many drivers said it was pointless to complicate the convenience of filling a gas tank with political or moral questions.

BP Twitter account goes rogue

The BP Facebook boycott may not be as effective in undermining BPs reputation as the bogus BP Twitter account @BPGlobalPR. The Los Angeles Times reports that the fake BP Twitter page had 42,000 followers as of Wednesday. BP’s real Twitter account, @BP_America, only has 5,700. The bogus BP Twitter account has raised more than $3,000 for the nonprofit Gulf Restoration Network through the sale of $25 BP T-shirts colored green and black to signify money and oil. 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.
I’m sorry, are people mad at us for drilling in the ocean?!? Maybe God shouldn’t have put oil there in the first place. DUH.

BP gas station owners take the hit

The BP boycott and BP T-shirts may affect small business BP gas station owners more than the global petroleum behemoth. CNNMoney.com reports that BP does not own the 11,500 gas stations that carry its logo in the United States. BP gas stations are owned by independent franchisees. Those BP gas station owners pumped an average of more than 42-million gallons of gas per day last year. An oil company executive told CNN that BP, one of the largest oil trading companies in the global market, can sell petroleum products wherever it needs to. If American consumers don’t buy BP gas, the insatiable demand for oil worldwide means someone else will. BP, which generated sales last year of about $240 billion, told CNN it has seen no effect from any boycott efforts.

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