When Oil Spills, Your Brand Slips and Falls

For over 50 days now, as many as 60,000 barrels of oil per day have been pouring into the Gulf. To stop it, BP has tried everything their petroleum-filled brains can think of: building a large containment dome, forcing rubber pieces into the pipe, drilling a relief well, even exploring a nuclear blast option.

Now, they're trying ads.

While they may not stop the leaking oil, BP is at least hoping to stop the spiraling downfall of their brand. By running full-page newspaper ads in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Washington Post, BP is attempting to take ownership of the spill and maintain a shred of their progressive brand identity. The print ad headline reads:

We will get it done.
We will make it right.

Ok, maybe so - after pledging $500 million towards long-term marine clean-up efforts, plus billions more in immediate damages. But that fresh, little helios logo which was once heralded as a symbol of environmental stewardship is now an oily stain on the entire Gulf Coast. And that's something consumers just don't forget.

We will get it done.
We will make it right.

Yeah, yeah. We heard you, BP. But do you apologize in the ad? Do you take responsibility for the spill itself? Nope. Instead, you take responsibility for the clean up efforts. From a PR standpoint, that's probably the right move. A little damage control goes a long way with consumers, but in this case, the damage to BP's brand may be irreversible.

After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, "Exxon" will forever connote images of oil-covered birds and seals. Exxon, however, had a way out: they leveraged the Mobil brand, which in consumers' minds, wasn't linked directly to Exxon. BP isn't quite so lucky. They purchased Amoco in the late 90's, then in 2000, they underwent a huge rebranding effort, ditching the Amoco name altogether and even changing their acronym from "British Petroleum" to "Beyond Petroleum."

So now, with nowhere to hide, BP's brand is a sitting duck. They could undergo another massive rebranding effort. Maybe they'll get bought out. Or they could just continue about their merry oil-pumping way. One thing we do know for certain: as long as CNN keeps feeding us that underwater image of a busted pipe spewing black crude oil into the ocean, consumers will never forget – and likely never buy another drop of BP gas again.

So, what should BP stand for now? Bleeding Pipe? Bayou Poison? Bigger Problems? Biological Predator? Boring Print ads?

Got a "BP" for us? Email yours to knock@dn3austin.com

Stuff We're Into

StereoMood is an online music station that arranges songs according to one's mood - they call it "emotional Internet radio." There's a super simple interface and the ability to jump between songs or build your own playlist is a nice touch.

iPhone 4
Oh yes. You want it. We want it. Ever since the prototype leaked on Gizmodo, we've been waiting with anticipation. Well, it's finally officially debuted and it looks awesome, especially FaceTime.
iPhone 4

A really cool iPhone App that turns your camera into a virtual, vintage, plastic toy camera. Remember all those unique and weirdly beautiful shots produced by old-school cameras? If you're old enough to remember film, that is. Well, this app produces fantastic shots that bring back some fond memories.
Hipstamatic App

The East Austin food trailer scene (and, on a larger scale, East Austin) has been blowing up in 2010. A new food "trailer" we're really excited about is #19, a retrofitted double-decker bus that will serve up cheesesteaks, burgers and hot dogs on the bottom deck, and offer patio-style seating up top. Its grand opening is June 19th. 1112 E 6th St.

Speaking of BP and its PR nightmare, this satirical Twitter account has been getting a good share of the spotlight. It's timely, bitingly funny, and would be flat-out hysterical if it wasn't skewering something so tragic. BP has taken a hands-off approach to this Twitter feed (so far).

New Biz

Q: What's better than having a beer or liquor account on the agency roster? A: Helping to brand and market a product that prevents hangovers. Door Number 3 is now working with Resurrection, a new drink that's creating its own category - one you drink before or mixed with your first alcoholic beverage. Parent company Bond Labs wants some help identifying and quantifying their marketplace and then assistance with advertising and guerilla tactics. It's a yummy, fizzy concoction with a mixture of proprietary herbs. Make it your first drink of the night so you can do those sun salutations the next morning without needing the hair of the downward dog. Advertising launch is scheduled for late this summer.
Creative Corner
Fresh off the assembly line, here's a glimpse at some new work from Door Number 3.

Austin Humane Society
We're proud to debut our major rebranding of the Austin Humane Society. The cornerstone is a new, elaborate website that serves as an educational tool designed to drive adoptions and increase the number of donors and volunteers. Stemming from this campaign is a new brand identity, an online game, viral videos, on-site wayfinding signage, and other print material. It all comes back to the dogs and cats, and the work the Humane Society does to get them into loving homes. Check out their website today and be sure to browse through their available pets.

Shown: Website, videos, and online game. Visit our site for the full campaign.

The new logo for Texas.gov, the official website for the State of Texas.


Clockwise from top: Kelly Slye, Ann Richards Birthday Bash, ESPN Radio.

Door Number 3 welcomes Kelly Slye, our new Media Planner/Buyer. Kelly moved to Austin from Richmond, VA in 2009 after attending South By Southwest and deciding this was her new home. Show of hands for other "Can't Get Enough of Austin SXSW Transplants"? Kelly has over six years of experience in the advertising world. She started her ad career in account service at an ABC affiliate in Virginia, then moved to the agency side accruing healthcare marketing experience along with retail and trade association chops. A few insider insights: Kelly's favorite family pet was a bassett hound named Bessie who ran in her sleep. Her first car was a hand-me-down from her parents - a silver Honda station wagon nicknamed the Shaggin' Wagon. She is really into restoring vintage furniture - just finished a 1950's cocktail cart. Cocktails anyone?

Frosting Countdown. In a few months it'll be time for the 4th Annual Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders Birthday Bash fundraiser. DN3 is helping again this year, donating design for event invites, posters and party collateral. Last year the ARS raised more than $105,000 for this unique all-girls public school that is setting a high bar for teaching confidence and community leadership along with book smarts.

Prentice Howe, our exec creative director took to the ESPN airwaves in Austin on May 25th to riff with their morning DJs about the new Nike commercial created for the World Cup tournament. Take a listen here.

Agency pres MP is a new blogger, for The New York Times online Small Business Blog, You're the Boss. She's writing weekly about all things branding, marketing and running an agency. MP joins a team of other business owners and writers who share their insights and stories about running companies. If you're somewhere between opening your first commercial checking account and exiting with a sale to Google, you can find solutions for just about any small business challenge from other business owners and reader commentaries.

If our quasi-quarterly e-newsletter is just not enough for you, be sure to join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We keep the pithy posts coming almost 365 days a year.

1050 E 11th St #250 • Austin TX 78702

Tired of receiving fun, insightful e-newsletters that make you a better-informed and more likable person? Email us and we'll take you off the list.