Leroy Stick has a beef not just with BP, but with the PR industry as well. After posting a manifesto explaining his assumed identity and his purpose, we reached out to the man claiming to be in charge of the Twitter sensation @BPGlobalPR. He took some time to answer our questions.
He's the "editor in chief" of a Twitter feed that has hundreds of jokes written for it, including some from his dad. He's not a hardcore environmentalist and thinks BP should hire a professor to replace its PR department. Oh, and BP and Twitter haven't tried to stop him. Not that he plans on stopping any time soon.
1. We enjoyed your story about the origin of the alias Leroy Stick, but now, can you give us your real name?
2. Let's get acquainted. Generally, where do you live and work? Are you in the marketing/PR industry?
I've lived all over the United States. I do not work in marketing/PR. I would like to write for a living.
3. Why did you start @BPGlobalPR? Are you an environmentalist, or were you hijacking the brand to prove a point?
I started @BPGlobalPR because I was frustrated and wanted to make jokes. Since then, I've basically adapted as it's grown. I had no plans to sell shirts or go to New Orleans when I started this, but as the Twitter took off, both seemed like logical and productive moves. One thing I didn't really touch on in the press release is that this has been a collaborative effort. I have a group of hilarious writers pitching me hundreds of jokes a week. I still write a lot of them, but I'm also an editor in chief/gatekeeper. I don't think the @BPGlobalPR would have such a wide reach if I were doing all of this on my own. My dad actually wrote the joke about tuna coming pre-packaged in oil which made me very happy.
Although I care about the environment, I wouldn't consider myself a hardcore environmentalist. I started this account because I think most people in PR are liars and most people in the media don't have the balls to call them out on it. There's a system set up where companies make press releases and the media regurgitates them. Personally, I'd love it if more journalists delved into why companies say what they say rather than simply presenting what they say. This system is useless and harmful in my opinion.
4. What do you want to say to those people out there suggesting you actually work for BP, or should? (You addressed this in your blog post this week, but can you give us a version that is maybe a bit, ahem, cleaner.)
All I will say is that I have never and will never work for BP. I don't even know how you could read what I post and think that is an option. My guess is the woman who wrote that is so immersed in the BS world of PR that she has lost perspective of the actual real world. This isn't a PR nightmare, it's an actual nightmare. That is why I called her a pickledick with her head up her ass.
5. You recommended BP firing their entire PR department. Who should they replace them with?
Nobody, they should halt the entire PR operation. They should hire people like Professor Rick Steiner to come up with real, responsible solutions to this real problem. Of course their publicity is going to be bad, but if they actually fix the problem the bad press could turn into good press.
6. Have you been approached by BP or Twitter about your feed?
7. At 115,000 followers and counting, how long are you planning to continue @BPGlobalPR?
I'll keep doing this as long as BP has a PR department. There is not an end in sight.
8. What do you think about that contest to crowdsource a new BP logo?
I think it's great. I encourage everybody to participate in this in any way that we can. I've asked for followers to contribute in any way they can. I've asked people to submit BP billboards (anything visual) and BP jingles (anything musical). I don't mind serving as the hub for this stuff, but the more other people become involved, the more powerful this whole thing becomes. I've been very impressed with the submissions thus far. Here are my favorite examples of both: #bpbillboards and "BP Blues" by The Dirty Cajuns.
9. It seems like you're taking this campaign offline -- tell us about that banner you flew over New Orleans, for example, and what else can we expect?
I flew the banner over New Orleans because I wanted people to see that this is more than just some online idiot making jokes. I want people to see this on the streets in their everyday life. I have an idea to start a traveling show that would utilize local acts in every city we visit. I'm very excited about it and I'd love to pitch it to someone.
10. What would BP have to do to recover its reputation from this gigantic mess?
First, they should take responsibility for this mistake and make responsible decisions in their clean up effort. They could let journalists take pictures of the devastation they've caused.
Those are decisions BP could make right now. If they wanted to build a good reputation going forward, they could start by leading the way in developing and utilizing clean renewable energy.
They should stop worrying about their reputation and start worrying about their real problems. No one loves BP right now, so there is no use in convincing us.
This was slightly edited.