Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


BP Logo Olgivy and Mather Branding the Gulf and a Poet Paraphrased

My mother taught me not to dig a hole so deep I couldn't climb out. She was right. She wisely taught me that back when I was a child digging in the sand at the beach...a long time before unrestrained, ill-prepared, rampant corporate greed polluted the Gulf forever. Here is a clue for you BP. Instead of spending millions of dollars with your advertising agency "rebranding" to a nice green "sunflower" logo ten years ago, maybe you should have been investing a bit more in learning how to avoid digging a hole you could not fix.

I was insulted when the now familiar green BP Helios logo appeared and I am more insulted now. The logo was developed by Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest advertising agencies on the world (with some ten billion dollars in billings) and they should be ashamed too. They reportedly charged BP 200 million dollars to come up with the deceitful, intentionally deceptive and downright disgusting logo. They had help coming up with the big lie from some folks you probably won't like knowing about, which is why you'll see plenty of pictures of greasy pelicans on your tube, but nothing about the folks behind the creation of the logo and BP's sham claim to environmentalism. If it were up to me (and if "truth in advertising" was a real mantra rather than a huge misnomer) the company logo would be a sun obliterated with toxic black tar surrounded with a few green crumpled dollars representing the suitcases full of it they gave to your favorite search engine in order to make their corporate crap pop up before you even finish typing the name. Screw them. Seriously. Screw them.

In his poem "America" written over 50 years ago, Allen Ginsberg, a courageous, beautiful and gentle man I have admired my entire adult life wrote the following:

"America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb"

I have taken the liberty to rewrite it.

BP, I've given you all that I have and you spoiled it
BP two dollars and 98 cents a gallon July 11, 2010
I can't stand my grief and anger
BP when will you cap the poison well?
Go fuck yourself with your oil

I'm just one person and rendered useless by health, size, lack of funds, lack of political influence and more, but I happen to have been born on this planet and it is for sure the only planet i'll ever live on...so I ache with anger, frustration and shame for what our own ignorance and apathy has let happen.

This might sound a bit strident, but I'm actually restraining myself. That the fickle news business has made it the lead story for nearly three months now should be an indication of both the seriousness of the spill and the repercussions we will still feel decades from now.

BP claims they will "be there as long as it takes to clean it up." Without doubt! Because they own hundreds of other filthy drills in the Gulf. The Gulf I played in as a child. The Gulf my parents condo was on for the last ten years of their life. Right smack dab at BP Zero...Gulf Shores, Alabama, a place they loved so much they would drive three days to get there every year just to see the dolphins pass in a line on the horizon every morning. The Gulf my Great Uncle proudly lived right on for decades. But they'll have to change their name and their logo...because both are now sullied and revealed as filthy obscene tricks played on us for too long.

If there is any good to come out of this unparalleled disaster, let us reclaim the color green. The next product you see claiming an environmental pedigree with green, challenge them. Read the ingredients. Study the company. See why it is they feel they have to use it. Do NOT take that pleasing color for granted and do not let corporations any longer shamefully use it to manipulate our love for the earth.


  1. Thanks. That is the best post I have read in months, I could certainly feel you were holding back... next time maybe you will let both barrels rip, I would enjoy reading that.

  2. When in art college discussion turned to how to deal with the moral dilemma about working for certain companies, there were those who could have cared less and a buck was a buck, those who said absolutely "No," and those of us who couldn't even imagine being in that position. When I went for an interview at an agency that did work for Standard Oil and I sat in the waiting area looking at the ads framed on the walls I knew I might be in that position. Fortunately, when the guy interviewed me, and before looking at my portfolio, asked me how fast I could type, I believe the stare I gave him let me off the hook. I left never having to deal with doing work for a client that I abhorred. Though through the years I've done some work for some clients I didn't respect, I've never had to go to bed at night knowing I lied for a buck. I've never understood the lack of moral underpinnings that fellow citizens have all for a buck or some power.

    I now worry that when the well is capped, the tv satellite trucks have pulled away, that people will find another shiny object to focus on, and BP will somehow get away with heralding their job as "Well done!" that they got it capped at all. They will find a way to make this work to their advantage and I'm sure many of their elite believe this to be merely a blip on the radar.

    Thanks for making me know I'll lose more sleep tonight.

  3. What almost bothers me more is the lack of any visible outrage among younger Americans. Are we that beaten down? Why aren't they up in arms in the streets?

  4. I still can hardly bring myself to watch the news, it upsets me that much. And I can't believe people are still pulling into the BP stations. How long until the tar balls start washing up here on the east coast of FL? UGH. Jim, my mom was green long before people started calling it "being green", as your mom may have been too. She called it being frugal.

  5. extremely well put. when i drive by the BP station on rt. 202
    with their bleached white rock landscaping and water feature,
    i am amazed to see people lined up to buy their product.
    WTF are they thinking??
    200 million for that offensive logo??
    they sicken me.

    nice post
    nice blog

  6. When companies were told going green would drive business they change the branding, hypnotizing color schemes, but very little to their production and responsibilities.