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Stephen Logan

BP and BA Using Pay per Click Advertising for PR

8th Jun 2010 Paid Search 2 minutes to read

BP and BA are two companies who have been receiving all sorts of press attention in recent weeks, not all for the most positive of reasons. So where do they turn to spread the good PR vibes? Google AdWords of course.

As reported this morning on Econsultancy [see: BP buys oil spill PPC ads: Nice idea, poor execution], BP has taken the slightly unusual step of buying advertising space on Google AdWords. Rather than trying to fight the torrent of outrage circulating across blogs, news channels and social media sites within the organic listings, BP have taken it right to the top.

So when you type in ‘Oil Spill’, ‘BP’ or ‘Deepwater Horizon’ on Google or Yahoo (Bing appears not to have been targeted as yet), the first thing you will see is a sponsored result from BP themselves.

Pretty clever; particularly as most of the other dynamic results appearing on SERPs are far from flattering to the company. PR is difficult at the best of times, but when you’re swimming against the current quite as much as BP is currently, every opportunity to have your say is vital. This ticks the search box.

The page it leads to promotes the work that BP are doing to stop the leak as well as their efforts at cleaning up the spill. This could divert some away from the far less flattering results further down the very same SERP.

BA are another company hitting the headlines. Obviously not quite to the same extent as BP, but the ongoing strikes continue to be a headline grabber. Where there are two clearly opposing sides, as there is with UNISON (the BA workers’ union) and BA, battle lines need to be drawn. Here, BA have taken the initiative and bought up the PPC rights for the term ‘BA Strike’.

Whilst we mostly associate PPC with selling goods or services, occasionally their search engine prominence gives them added value elsewhere. In BP’s case it might just be throwing good money after bad, but at least they are ensuring that search engine users are seeing what the company wants them to see first.

If nothing else this proves the value of Paid Search. By targeting the top positions you can knock down your competitors and ensure you’re seen first. Whether you’re doing it for PR reasons or just general site promotion, PPC on the likes of Google AdWords gets you seen. Just as with these enterprising companies on the BA Strike term.

Companies Using Pay per Click Advertising for PR

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