Tony Hayward, former BP chief and today’s Wall Street Journal cover boy for his oil drilling work in human rights-challenged regions of the world, gets a shout-out in Havas Worldwide’s just-released report about how trust and dynamism drive brand success.
In the “How Transparent is Too Transparent,” section of the report, Tony is remembered for his infamous post-Gulf Oil spill whine about wanting to get his “life back.” As Havas noted, 11 workers lost their lives following the explosion and the millions of BP oil spewed into the waters “destroyed the livelihoods of thousands.” Poor, Tony.
Havas cited other notable foot-in-mouth statements such as the classic 2006 pearl uttered by Abercrombie & Fitch’s Mike Jeffries to outline his marketing strategy: “We go after the cool kids. A lot of people don’t belong and they can’t belong,” said Jeffries. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
The quote coupled with A&F’s refusal to stock larger size implies that only skinny kids can be cool.
Most recently Guido Barilla of pasta fame triggered calls of a boycott after he told Italian radio that he only wants heterosexual or “classic” families in his advertising.
Havas’ takeaway: “Sometimes it’s best to let your products do the talking for you.”
The French firm’s white paper, “Building Brands that Matter: The Sweet Spot Between Trust and Dynamism,” is a good read about how social media has created a world of radical transparency that gives customers the clout to hold companies accountable, according to CEO David Jones.
It also shows that loose lips sink ships.