An Interview With the Guy Skewering BP on Twitter
By Zach Dionne Posted Jun 7th 2010 02:45PM
In the wake of the burgeoning oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an anonymous Twitter bandit is taking BP, the company behind the catastrophe, to task. The writer behind @BPGlobalPR has been excoriating the oil company since May 19, amassing more than 130,000 followers to date and receiving major media attention for his satirical (and staged) messages from BP to the public.
"I started @BPGlobalPR because the oil spill had been going on for almost a month and all BP had to offer were bulls**t PR statements. That's why I decided to relate to the public for them," the writer said in a Huffington Post essay. "Why has this caught on? Sometimes laughing at it feels better than getting angry or depressed over it. I've read a bunch of articles [with] ... publicists and marketing folk wondering what BP should do to save their brand from @BPGlobalPR. First of all, who cares? I'm trashing a company that is literally trashing the ocean."
After the jump, PopEater's exclusive interview with @BPGlobalPR and our five favorite tweets.
When did you realize how much this was picking up steam?
Friday, May 21. I got about 1,000 followers that night because Roger Ebert retweeted my tweet, "Sadly, we can no longer certify our oil as dolphin safe."
Can't go wrong with an Ebert retweet. And now, you've raised $10,000 selling 'BP Cares' T-shirts. Surprised?
I'm not sure if surprised is the word. The T-shirt thing happened very organically, so it's been interesting to see it grow. The whole thing started as a joke. Some people read my tweets and they were FURIOUS. I would respond to these people by saying variations on "I'm sorry you're upset, send me your address and I'll send you a free 'BP Cares' T -shirt." Soon after that, someone created the hashtag #iwantmybptshirt, and I realized I should make it into something. I loved the idea of people on Twitter demanding that BP send them a free T-shirt to make up for the oil spill. I soon realized I could probably sell these shirts. We came up with the design and had them up on an online store all in one day. Then we had to find an organization to donate the money toward, and the Gulf Restoration Network seemed like a perfect fit. For the record, we've made more than $10,000. There will be another donation very soon.
That's terrific. This all reminds me of Mike Mitchell, the 'I'm With Coco' artist, who just did something for kicks and saw it become a massive movement. But yours is drawing corporate ire and getting the attention of this massive oil company. Is this experience going to affect your life professionally or personally?
I'm very familiar with Mike Mitchell's work. He's been a supporter of this whole thing and he even made a graphic [displayed at right] I posted over the weekend. Honestly, I sure hope it affects my professional life. I would like to get paid to write and do these types of social experiments for a living.
Will you come out of anonymity to make that happen? Are you at all afraid of being a regular guy taunting such a massive corporation?
The reason I remain anonymous is because this isn't about me. I feel like if I did reveal myself, people would want to know more about me and less about BP. I'm actually very happy to remain anonymous.
How long are you planning on having us laughing and retweeting?PopEater's Five Favorite Tweets from @BPGlobalPR:
1. Beverly Hillbillies marathon on TBS - now THESE guys knew what to do with an oil leak!
2. Catastrophe is a strong word, let's all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy.
3. Just saw new satellite images of the spill. Actually, it kinda looks like the Earth has a beauty mark! Ooolala! @CindyCrawford #bpcares
4. We cannot confirm or deny the rumors that a smoke monster has emerged from the gulf. J/K! What will we do with our time once Lost ends!?!
5. Dropping everything to work on our "Oil Slickers" movie script. Hopefully Billy Crystal is available/willing to work with oil. #bpcares
As long as BP keeps bullsh***ing. If they're going to spend $50 million on advertising, I'm going to go out of my way to break their b**ls.
So there's your Twitter, the very funny fake Paramount account ... who else would you create fake Twitter feeds for? Any big celebs you think you could slay in 140 characters or less, tweeting as them?
Honestly, I'm not really interested in skewering celebrities. I like the idea of creating original characters on Twitter, which is why Terry is my absolute favorite part of this whole thing. [Ed note: Terry is the fictional BP exec created as an offshoot of @BPGlobalPR. Sample tweet: "I just spent 4 hours on the coast waving my wand at the ocean and yelling magic words."] I love writing for Terry, because I literally can't make him too stupid. I have ideas for other accounts, but I probably won't start on those until this is over.
What celebrities do you enjoy following?
I really like Roger Ebert. I feel like he's in a place where he just doesn't care what people think of him. Also, it's an amazing way for a guy with no voice to be able to communicate in real time. I was insanely happy when he retweeted us. I appreciate Sh** My Dad Says because it's funny and I feel like Twitter is the perfect medium for what that is. I've always loved the The Onion, and I feel like Twitter is a perfect vehicle for their headlines as well. I also like to see glimpses into the day to day of people I would normally never know, like porn stars or Weird Al. That's kind of fascinating to me.
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