Buying Google and Yahoo search terms BP’s best bet to protect its brand under current circumstances

By Matthew Whiteway | 01 Jun 2010

BP buying up keywords in the "big three" search engines could be viewed by some as a PR masterstroke, whilst others will feel it is just a desperate attempt to stop the public from finding out the true damage of the disaster.


BP has purchased Google and Yahoo search terms in order to influence consumers' views on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is clearly trying to protect its brand image following the catastrophe of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, turning to paid search in an attempt to present a more compassionate image. With BP buying top position in paid search, it hopes to drive users to its corporate response page which attempts to paint a more positive picture of the BP brand. 


Excluding the paid search listing in the results page, 95% of the listings are very negative.  A search in Google for "BP Oil Spill" presents the user with a number of listings that are being very cynical of BP, including YouTube clips of the impact the disaster has had on the local area and its wildlife. 


Today, internet users expect to get up to the minute reports on world events and the recent oil spill is no different. People now turn to search engines to find out information, read reports, and watch videos on latest events. Recent search trends for terms such as "oil spill" show the level of interest in the events in the Gulf of Mexico. Whilst some would argue that BP is trying to deflect attention away from damage the oil spill has caused, others will agree BP is just giving internet users the information they are looking for; after all, users are not forced to click on the paid search advert.


Paid search is the quickest way to see tangible results in online marketing. From a search perspective, this is the best move BP could have made to protect its image under the current circumstances.





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