How to turn a PR nightmare into a dream

Ever since the Keystone XL Pipeline (originally slated to transport Tar Sand bitumen from Alberta to Nebraska) was stalled, the attention on finding a new delivery route for this tar sand oil has focused around my own neck of the woods, British Columbia. And it seems like every time I open the paper, there's some new story about big oil PR shenanigans [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. All of this, of course, makes you wonder what a big oil PR session actually entails, and whether a memo like the fictitious one below (a.k.a. me having a little fun), is not so far from the truth...

Memo: Turning pipeline leaks into something positive!

PERSONAL & CONFIDENTIAL

ATTN: All executives, PR

Alright everyone, it’s time for some major spin control.  We managed to plug that pipeline up, but now we seem to be losing the public relations fight what with the freaking amount of bitumen that spilled out. Seriously, the bad press is everywhere, and we are, quite frankly, getting crucified out there. So what can we do about this?  How can we turn this PR nightmare into a PR fairytale?   

Well, we think that we’ve got an idea that can’t lose.  Let me explain.  Basically, when we thought about the idea of a PR fairytale, we thought about castles.  And when we thought about castles--stick with me here--as vanguards of the capitalist world, of course we didn’t think about real historic castles. No, we thought about pink stucco ones, like the kind you might associate with movie studios and animated versions of Cinderella.  And then (like magic, we did this all at once, I swear) we said to ourselves, “THEME PARK!”  And then we wondered, how much energy is in this leaked tar sand product anyway?  

Well, it turns out (with some very speedy back of the envelope calculations) that the amount of energy we can get from it might be good enough to explore the running of our own magic kingdom!  Well, at least if we can count on a few more leaks along the way. But how cool would that be?  Anyway, here’s the gist.  We just pull that energy from our happy accident(s), redirect it, and then run this baby! It’ll be like the leaks happened on purpose! Awesome!  

But we digress.  Let’s not bore you with talk of energy and leaks, let’s talk THEME PARK!  

Now this is just preliminary brainstorming, but we’re thinking a great name would be “Slick City!”  Nice, right?  Maybe even add to that a catchy tagline - something like The Family Friendly Pipeline Spill!  We can even have animal characters wandering around the park, with maybe some kind of funky gel-like oil in their fur and feathers so it looks all cool and shiny.  And yes, there will be a Fossil Fuel Palace, made out of glistening anthracite! I can even envision a theatre area where an oiled-down animal mascot version of the musical Grease is performed. 

Is it just me, or are people going to pay some serious coin to see that?  

And the rides: how about one called “Shutting down the science!”  You'd have these carts that go around a track, and the riders have these light guns that shoot at things for points.  For instance, they can shoot at all the nasty scientists who want to report on their work, or shoot at research centers that might be making inconvenient discoveries. Ha ha, just kidding - I’m just throwing ideas out there, but you get the picture right?

We also need a giant slide of somesort. What if we design the slide so that it followed the same curve as the hockey stick graph? And what if we call it the Carbonator or something cool like that?  

And the big ticket item? Obviously, this will be an epic rollercoaster.  Perhaps one made to look like a big old pipeline.  We could even make it from real pipeline parts!  Don’t we get discounts for those kinds of things?  As well, this ride is going to be amazing:  it’s going to be the future of log rides.  Instead of logs, the folks could sit in oil barrels, and instead of traveling through water, maybe those barrels would even go faster in a petroleum based fluid.  Extra bonus if we get to light it on fire!   

This is totally a goldmine of an opportunity. It’s like the ideas are just flowing and the theme park is creating itself!  FRIED FOOD!  Whoa. That one came out of nowhere! Seriously folks, we’ve hit oil here and it’s a gusher.