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BP tries to clean up image with AdWords

As a company, British Petroleum — or BP — is facing three disasters. The first, is the 50,000 to 85,000 barrels of crude oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. The second, is the eleven BP platform workers who lost their lives when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank. The third, is the unmitigated public relations nightmare that seemingly has no end in sight. The efforts to solve the first issue have been detailed ad nauseum by the media, and the second issue will undoubtably be handled in civil court. But what about the third issue? AdWords! The International Business Times is reporting that BP is buying keyword ads on both Yahoo! and Google for terms such as “oil spill,” in order to direct searchers to its official page detainling what BP is trying to do to stem the underwater leak. As the IBT points out: “While a host of companies resort to this strategy in crisis situation, BP has received flak from many critics who condemned the move as unethical.” The links are, in all fairness, labeled as “sponsored” but we’re pretty interested to know your take. We aren’t being political, but…do you think the use of search engine adverts by BP fair, foul, or tacky? Do you think it will help or hurt their current PR situation?