The Sunday Funnies
$50 Million and Soaring: BP’s PR Campaign: McChrystal to head “special ops “
Hank Cole and Keon Monroe
Last night we received an email sent by Leaker@gargoyle.com. It contains a confidential memo from Green-Gumpshin International, a major league PR firm, to its client BP. The leaked memo outlines an ambitious campaign aimed at helping BP recover its footing. The blockbuster – Green-Gumpshin has retained Runaway General Stanley McChrystal to lead a counter-offensive program. We sent a reply to query “Leaker” but it bounced back. We called BP and Green-Gumpshin to confirm the memo’s authenticity; they have not answered our calls. We felt it our duty to publish the memo. For more info click on bolded links.
Green-Gumpshin Communication$, International
Protecting profits in Periods of Peril
To: Tony Hayward
From: T. Morton Fogworthy
Re: Strategic Plan
Per your request, the strategic campaign proposal designed to reverse BP’s negative press and dismal public image. The strategy is also aimed at blunting efforts by left-leaning members of Congress to pass legislation that would force BP to endure even greater sums for fees, penalties, lost oil royalties, and liabilities. Rest assured that we have assembled an outstanding team to carry out this difficult but critical mission, including Stan McChrystal.
Costs—we’ve spent about $50 million to date and expect that the full campaign will cost about $500 million. I can appreciate your concerns given BP’s recent expenditures and falling stock values. However, I must be candid. Our focus groups and polls show that BP has higher name recognition and bigger negatives than the Taliban. Moreover Tony, your public utterances have hurt the cause—to put it mildly. I strongly suggest you travel incognito to a remote destination and stay there until we right the situation, a daunting task but achievable with sufficient funding. Please don’t use your yacht.
Fogworthy to Hayward, p. 2
Phase 2 Proposal
We continue to downplay the importance of oil flow rates. Getting back down to 5,000 barrels a day will be tough, but it’s worth a good junk shot. We will also emphasis that dilution is the solution – the total volume of ocean water is huge compared to your oil leak. But Tony, much better if our scientists say this than you. One of our experts will release a report showing that the natural leakage from the world’s oceans is a lot higher than 5000 barrels a day.
We also plan to find experts to counter alarmist findings of scientists on ecological and health damages; state and local health officials are particularly adept at reassuring the public that oil fumes, though smelly, are not a public health threat.
Note that the climate experts we hired did a great job shooting down the credibility of the scientific consensus on global warming. An example of how a good investment can pay dividends.
2. The McChrystal Ploy:
It’s true; we signed McChrystal. He’ll head up our counter-offensive operations (co-off-ops). Who better to square off against nosey shock-seeking reporters and their photographers? Imagine the splash we’ll get when we go public with this. It will divert the headlines and pundits for at least a week. Better photos of McChrystal with a little egg on his face than dolphins covered in goo. Also, I’m sure the General will command the great support we’ll get from the Tea Party crowd.
3. Positive Spin:
Our specialty is positive spin in negative territory. We recommend a strategy that gives massive media coverage to the “silent majority” of animals and beaches that are not covered with oil. Secondly, hotel and fried chicken restaurants down there are booming given the massive influx of experts, pundits, cleanup crews and politicians there. We need to get this stuff above the fold. We know how to do this – its all about advertising dollars. Another nice touch – get those nice, home grown, local gas station dealers to hold bake sales for area charities. Link to the BP message to dealers.
4. Negative impacts of a Moratorium:
Nothing more fearsome than fear itself. We recommend a major push to include TV adds showing long lines of cars at gas stations (subliminal shots of Jimmy Carter), long lines of workers collecting unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and mothers trudging on foot loaded with shopping bags, and of course segments with Sarah Palin and her Mama Grizzlies rebuking environmentalists for destroying the American Dream.
5. Corporate contributions to campaigns.
The Supreme Court handed us a big one. Nearly all restrictions have been removed. We reward our friends and…. well you know.
6. BP Big Big Funder of the Arts
We are having great success in UK with this one, especially with the Conservative Administration’s new austerity cuts. All the gallery and museum chiefs are sucking up to BP like a bunch of whipped puppies. I glad you agreed to invest millions in the London Open Arts weeks. Don’t worry about the protesters; they are the sour grapes artists who can’t sell a painting to their own mothers. Plus, we hear from our friends at 10 Downing that they are prepared to protect Tate and other great galleries that you sponsor from vandalism. (Use your imagination). I suggest a ten fold expansion of art sponsorship in the U.S. over the next year.
Next Steps: If you agree with the general thrust here, we will provide a more detailed proposal. I must emphasize the importance of keeping this memo confidential. Please take every precaution to prevent leaks; they will blow us out of the water. (Pardon the puns).