Title

Rhetoric and Public Culture: BP’s Commitment to Advertising and Ideographs

Presenter

Ben Caldwell

Abstract

After its public reputation was tarnished by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, British Petroleum attempted to repair its public image by resignifying many of its previous campaign commitments through several rhetorical strategies, including personae, enthymemes and especially ideographs. In August 2012, BP released a video advertisement, “BP’s Commitment to America,” which constituted a dramatic shift from the video advertising campaigns that BP employed prior to the spill. In previous campaigns, BP portrayed itself as an ecologically conscientious company through the use of “green” ideographs. In “BP’s Commitment to America,” the energy giant abandoned this strategy, portraying itself as a company aligned with American values through the ideograph of “America” in order to foster identification with American consumers. I analyze and employ McGee’s conception of the ideograph to examine the effect of this strategy on BP’s public image.

Faculty Sponsor

Heather Hayes

Sponsor Department/Programs

Rhetoric Studies

Tracks

Rhetorical Studies: Public Culture

Terms of Use

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Location

Reid G02

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Apr 19th, 2:00 PM Apr 19th, 2:15 PM

Rhetoric and Public Culture: BP’s Commitment to Advertising and Ideographs

Reid G02

After its public reputation was tarnished by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, British Petroleum attempted to repair its public image by resignifying many of its previous campaign commitments through several rhetorical strategies, including personae, enthymemes and especially ideographs. In August 2012, BP released a video advertisement, “BP’s Commitment to America,” which constituted a dramatic shift from the video advertising campaigns that BP employed prior to the spill. In previous campaigns, BP portrayed itself as an ecologically conscientious company through the use of “green” ideographs. In “BP’s Commitment to America,” the energy giant abandoned this strategy, portraying itself as a company aligned with American values through the ideograph of “America” in order to foster identification with American consumers. I analyze and employ McGee’s conception of the ideograph to examine the effect of this strategy on BP’s public image.

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