BP’s Video Apology Ad Ignites Online Response
BP launched an apology ad in early June featuring the oil giant’s CEO, Tony Hayward, tactfully describing what the company is doing in efforts to manage the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster. Given that this is the largest national crisis to occur in America since social media has moved into the mainstream, we have been monitoring audience interest in BP's online video apology ad. The ad was uploaded to the company's YouTube channel on June 3 and has been promoted heavily by BP, helping to drive the campaign’s viewership to nearly 500,000 views according to our True Reach methodology.
While much has been said about the message from BP's head, one compelling outcome has been the deluge of video responses from the online community. As has already been well-established, advertising in online video is a two way conversation. Hayward’s remarks have, perhaps unsurprisingly, inspired many to make public their opinions and sentiments, often addressing the CEO directly.
Some clips demonstrate very candid displays of emotion. Others take a more cynical tone, while others attempt a more thought-provoking approach. Still others yet don’t seem to be thought out at all. We have thus far been unable to identify any response videos in defense of or siding with BP and Hayward -- though it is possible that Congressman Joe Barton's webcam is out of commission. We researched the outpouring of user generated responses in comparison to clips associated with the original BP ad and found the following trend.
At the moment, community-driven response videos outnumber the ad itself by nearly 5x, an unusual ratio for anything other than an online video contest. It will be interesting to see how viewer interest in these two classes of clips changes over time, though it seems clear that the online community has something to say about the spill itself and BP's associated advertising campaign. Is this yet more evidence that online video is becoming an important new front in the battle to shape for public opinion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!