When the history of BP is written, poor Robert White will probably not get a mention.
Tucked away in Canada Tower in London, Robert – shall we call him Bob –is in the Group Trade Mark Department. Although it may not be the most glamorous of jobs, it is vital in defending the BP image around the world.
Part of Bob’s job is to “monitor the internet for infringements and fraudulent activities”. You would think that this keeps him pretty busy, but one day you can imagine Bob’s horror when he was surfing the Yes Men’s website to find a half built spoof of the BP site. You can imagine his quandary over a latte over whether to leave the website alone or complain.
Finally last month he wrote to the Yes Men concerning the “infringing copyright on the trademarks of BP.” Bob noted that “our attention has been drawn to the existence of the following web pages (http://www.theyesmen.org/agribusiness/beyondpetrol/) that BP argued “bear a remarkable similarity to the genuine www.bp.com
Whilst the website included “multiple reproductions of the BP logo” which the company had not authorized, Bob was also concerned that “there is a real risk of that genuine visitors could be confused and being diverted away from the genuine” BP website. Bob asked for the pages to be removed.
You can imagine Bob’s utter delight yesterday when he received an email from the Yes Men, apologizing for their action, adding that they understood “and sympathize with the hurt that your company has every right in the world to feel”. The Yes Men also said that the offending pages had been removed.
Bob would haven been chuffed at this stage, thinking that a simple email had led to a capitulation by the dreaded eco-pranskers.
However, his heart beat would have fastened as he continued reading the email from the Yes Men, who wrote: “We now understand that objectively, BP does every bit as much damage to this planet as does Exxon, Halliburton, or any other more obviously nefarious company, regardless of its carefully engineered professions of decency and concern.”
The email finished by stating “And we are ready today to prove our maturity, sincerity, and newfound intelligence by offering you a fully realized spoof of your own: http://beyond-petrol.com/.”
His blood pressure must have raced as he clicked on the link to see an entire spoof site.
I wonder what you are going to do now Bob?