The Colbert Report

Season 6 Episode 73

Mark Frauenfelder

Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Jun 08, 2010 on Comedy Central
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Mark Frauenfelder
Tonight Stephen welcomes the editor of Make magazine and author of Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, Mark Frauenfelder.
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      • Stephen: But for this disaster they have a solution, and it brings us to tonight's Word: P.R.-mageddon. Folks, BP is no stranger to image management. In 2000 they spent millions rebranding themselves to look like an environmentally friendly company. That's where this flower logo came from. Now clearly they'll have to ditch this for something the company finds less loathsome. [Nazi Swastika] Well, they are starting off strong with a $50 million PR campaign. First step: Cleaning up their image on the internet.

        [Video: Reporter: The oil giant is buying space on search engines. If you puts the words "oil spill" into Google, what you'll find at the top is a link to, with the line "Learn more about how BP is helping." ]

        Stephen: They also bought the search terms "poison sh*tstorm," "shellfish holocaust," and "date raping a sea turtle." (Also title of lost SpongeBob episode) And they have cut a great new commercial.

        [Video: Tony Hayward: I'm Tony Hayward, BP has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the Gulf. We've helped organize the largest environmental response in this country's history….To those affected and your families, I'm deeply sorry.]

        Stephen: Deeply sorry that he has this job. (Not as sorry as Louisiana) I think it is a great commercial, but I think BP would get more sympathy if it looked like this. [Parody of the Tiger Woods Nike ad that used a recording of his dead father] It makes sense, because only BP has f*cked more people that Tiger Woods. (Both in trouble for unsafe drilling) But Tony Hayward is BP's greatest PR tool, and I do mean tool. Jim?

        [Video clips: Tony Hayward: This wasn't our accident, this was a drilling rig operated by another company…I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest….Nobody wants this thing over more than I do and I'd like my life back.]

        Stephen: On that last one, he was actually quoting a pelican. Now, everyone wants Tony's head on a platter, last night I wanted his nuts on my loafer. Even President Obama joined in.

        [Video: Barack Obama: He wouldn't be working for me after any of those statements…]

        Stephen: Because Barack Obama does not want Hayward out there making embarrassing public misstatements. That job is already filled. So you're asking, I'm sure, you're saying: Stephen, why doesn't BP fire Tony Hayward? (Or plug him with shredded tires and golf balls?) Because Tony Hayward had become a public figure so cartoonishly despicable that the public can project all their anger and loathing onto him. (And Helen Thomas) I mean, just look at him, he's the picture of toffee nibbling, priggish Cricket paddling, corporate aristocracy. To complete the look, BP's going to have remote controlled robots lower a top hat. I mean what an a**hole. And as long as Tony here stays the public face of BP, he'll draw the stink off the rest of the company. He's like a living, breathing box of baking soda. (Harm and stammer) Then the second the spill is under control, BP can just dump him like, I don't know, oil in the Gulf. And when they fire him, we'll feel like British Petroleum is on our side. (And our front…and on our back…) BP will come out of this smelling like a rose, or whatever flower this is, which given their present PR, kind of looks like a green and yellow sphincter.

        And that's the Word.

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