Seriously, BP?

I just wanted to remind everyone that BP is still running ads like this on TV. When this came on, my mouth literally dropped and I yelled “Seriously, BP?”

I worry that these tug-at-the-heartstring PR campaigns will subtly become more effective as time goes on–time heals all wounds, right? We’re getting barraged with BP’s ads without any counter viewpoint. Why can’t we scientists produce equally appealing, public service announcements as a reminder that everything is NOT ok in the Gulf. That we won’t know the impact of the spill for years. That Gulf food webs (often ending in human consumption) could be concentrating oil-derived toxins. That we’re slowly killing our planet with our dependence on oil.

I will gladly go on TV, as a scientist, and iterate the long list of things we DON’T know. Remind everyone that we can’t make informed decisions without knowledge. Unfortunately, I don’t have millions of dollars at my disposal to run a pro-science PR campaign. (Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, do you want to pay for a production team? “Scientists for the Gulf”?) Yes, I have ‘got Milk’, and know that Cotton is the fabric of our lives–campaigns like this can have pervasive and far-reaching effects on the public psyche. Science and Technology drive the progress of societies, yet we are not often reminded of this through mainstream channels. Why can’t we run a PR campaign for Science?

Holly Bik (140 Posts)

I am a computational biologist at the University of California, Davis. My research uses DNA sequencing and genomics to study microbial eukaryotes (yeah, nematodes!) in marine ecosystems, with an emphasis on evolution and biodiversity in the deep-sea. I can neither confirm nor deny that I like Unix more than I like going to sea.





3 comments on “Seriously, BP?
  1. I’m in TX and I’ve seen these ads a lot and have thought the same thing.

    The Gulf Coast is worried about business though and as much as we’d like the truth to be said about the damage being done, local businesses and local politics may have the same interests in mind as BP – that is, make it seem like it’s cleaned up so people come back to the area.

    Running a pro-science campaign would be seen as not just an attack on BP, but oppositional to local business. Maybe there’s a happy medium to be found (i.e. attack BP, but all in support of local businesses?) I’d help. :)

  2. The reference to the “got Milk?” campaign made me think of posters. Maybe printing and putting up a bunch of posters of Ted Danson warning about oil toxins might be effective.

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