BP’s ‘Apology’ Ad Not a Complete Disaster

Unlike the oil spill it has been unsuccessfully trying to contain for the last two months, BP’s new “apology ad” is not a complete disaster, according to Ace Metrix, the research firm that measures the creative effectiveness of breaking TV campaigns.

The ad, which debuted June 3, delivered an Ace Score of 526 out of a total of 950, which is in-line with the average of 523 for all ads within the Ace Metrix system. The ad scored highest with females 36-49 and lowest with males 36-49. Ace scores stem from online surveys of 500 consumers who view ads and respond to questions and provide (optionally) additional comments about the spots.

However, according to Ju Young Lee, co-founder and chief scientist at Ace Metrix, “BP missed an opportunity to emotionally connect with consumers and convince them BP is going to change for the better.”

And despite the average Ace score, many consumers expressed their anger and unhappiness with BP. Seventy-five percent of the Ace respondents said BP CEO Tony Hayward ought to be replaced. Just over half said they would never buy from BP again or buy less.

According to Ace, the intensity of consumer reaction differed by region. Those who lived closest to the oil spill, in the South, showed the most positive reaction whereas those who live farther from the spill — but in BP’s consumer market region, the Midwest — reacted most negatively.

Consumers are spilt in their opinion about BP’s effort. While 41 percent think BP is doing everything it can to control the spill and clean it up, an equal number of people believe that BP is doing only what it needs to do for public relations purposes. They also feel that BP’s efforts in public relations damage control are too little too late (47 percent).

One telling panelist verbatim: “I like the ad, but I’m skeptical about the company’s ability to keep the promises made in [it]. I also want more information about how they intend to keep this from happening again. I very much distrust the oil industry as a whole, given past experiences around the world with other oil spills.”

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