Global energy company BP has instituted an “ad-pull” policy for print publications that print what the company calls “objectionable editorial coverage.”
The company’s “zero tolerance” policy says that publications must inform BP in advance if an issue contains any coverage which violates a series of directives laid out by BP. Offensive coverage can include “any editorial that contains fuel/oil or energy news text or visuals,” according to a story on adage.com today. It would be bad enough if BP wanted to threaten publications if they print negative stories about BP, but to threaten to pull ad schedules if publications run general stories on energy is beyond belief.
I’m thinking about our recent discussions about the marketing of the global warming issue, and Tom’s “Lee vs. Jeff” post from yesterday, comparing how the CEO of GE is facing energy issues head-on while the CEO of ExxonMobil is in denial. If BP is able to do something like this with impunity, we should all worry about the integrity of both their advertising message and the editorial content of any publication in which they advertise.