Corporate Parodies: The Good and the Ugly



Everyone loves a good parody, unless you’re bearing the
brunt of the joke. BP isn’t laughing @BPGlobalPR,
even though the jokester behind it is arguably helping the rest of us cope with
one of the worst environmental disasters in years.

This week, BP’s response was to force the Twitter parody to
identify itself as fake, as if it wasn’t completely obvious already. Would the
real BP PR rep tweet something like, “Announcement:
For every gallon of gas you buy at a BP station, you get a free .1 share of the
company! #bpstocks”?
Don’t think so.

With that being said, BP could
have been a little quicker on the uptake. @BPGlobalPR has been operating for
weeks; the damage is done. What’s worse for BP, in the act of identifying
itself as fake, here was @BPGlobalPR’s snarky response:
are not at all associated with Beyond Petroleum, the oil company that has been
destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 53 days.

On the flip side, parodies can be a
brilliant marketing tool for companies, if they’re brave and funny enough to
actually do them.  Here are a few
recent ones that are especially effective:

In the “Making fun of yourself” category: In
case you’ve been under a rock, my favorite from the past week is NPR’s “New
Products” spoof
, which includes a Chatroulette, “Wait, wait…” and the
priceless “Autotuned Things Considered.”

In the “Making fun of the competition”
category: A few months ago, Netsuite filmed a “Mac vs. PC Guy” – YouTube
slamming their competitor, SAP. While risky, this type of attack can
build an edgier corporate brand and point out the flaws of the competition. I
just wish more companies were willing to go there!