After years of invincibility, the inevitable happened:
And Canadian OilSands is lashing out. As OilPrice.com's Julieanne Geiger details, in possibly one of the biggest marketing blunders of the millennium, a Canadian Oil Sands group has managed to alienate groups from almost every walk of life with their recent Facebook meme that prompted people to choose Canadian oil over Saudi oil—because, as the meme read, “In Canada, lesbians are considered hot! In Saudi Arabia, if you’re a lesbian, you die!”
The ad went on to query, “Why are we getting our oil from countries that don’t think lesbians are hot?”
You might be thinking that the Coke/New Coke marketing blunder was bad, but the hot-lesbian ad, particularly in today’s politically correct day and age, is sure to bump some of the worst marketing blunders off their top spot.
Robbie Picard, the Canadian Oil Sands Community Manager, published an apology for the ad, but that bell is hard to unring.
“(We used) a random stock image, but the point was to draw attention to the bigger issue. I was surprised there was so much response to it,” Picard told the National Post—a response could be construed by some as an apology, while proving for others Picard’s disconnect from today’s politically correct culture.
The Canadian Oil Sands Community was actually trying to draw the attention to the fact that despite Canada’s huge oil reserves, eastern Canada imports oil from Saudi Arabia (as well as other OPEC members and the US), but failed miserably in their attempt—managing to instead offend almost every group across the globe—from Canada to Saudi Arabia, from Evangelical Christians to the LGBTQ community, to females in general.
The Facebook backlash was severe, and included some who inquired whether Picard was actually from this planet. The majority, however, were simply outraged at the general inappropriateness of the ad—from a variety of perspectives.
Because the message—that Canada should use its own oil and stop buying oil from a country that beheads homosexuals—ran amok with the first post, it has since been removed and replaced with new—and more appropriate—anti-Saudi Arabia posts, one of which still focuses on Saudi Arabia’s treatment of the LGBTQ community.
Canada has oil reserves of 171 billion barrels, which placed it third in the world behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia at the end of 2015, figures by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers show.
Some 166 billion barrels of oil can be recovered from the oil sands, the association says. Canada is the world’s sixth-largest crude oil producer and the fifth-biggest natural gas producer.