An Audition: British Petroleum’s Public Relations Department
By now many of us have read of British Petroleum’s increased ad spending in the months following the April 20th Deepwater Horizon Explosion. Rep. Kathy Castor was especially upset by this, saying “BP is overdoing it, it’s really making people angry. Every day you get up and see these full-page ads in every newspaper and the TV ads…while BP’s advertising campaign ramped up, businesses and the gulf communities struggled to deal with the costs of the disaster.”
British Petroleum spent 93.4 million dollars in television, print, magazines and the internet, triple what they spent the previous year.
Whereas Rep Castor believes this was being done to burnish the company’s image, BP says the ads were intended to inform the public of what they are doing to clean up the spill and to provide transparency in their efforts.
That’s their best possible spin?
British Petroleum public relations has been dropping the ball for five months now, and as a lowly, but well-intentioned citizen with a degree in communications, I can’t stands no more…British Petroleum, consider this my audition:
Release date: 22 September 2010
For decades, the coast of this great country had been neglected and destroyed through coastal erosion. For the past five years, the good people of the United States have given up on and forgotten the beautiful city of New Orleans and the wrath unleashed by Katrina and the failed levees. For too long, dead zones have plagued the Gulf of Mexico each summer, large swaths of water where no fish can live, no species can survive, and every year this zone of oxygen depleted water only grows in size. And finally, the recession struck the states of the Gulf Coast and by all economic indicators would soon have become worse, jobs were being lost, people were losing their homes, families were being driven apart. We here at British Petroleum watched these events, along with so many of the good, resilient people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida with growing concern. Then, earlier this year, as we celebrated the New Orleans Saints first ever Super Bowl victory, we saw the momentum shift. The outlook became more positive. We bore witness to a region suddenly re-energized and victorious and we felt there must be some way we could do our part to help sustain this momentum. Everyone in the Gulf Coast is our lifelong friend; our fates are intertwined. For decades we have partnered with you to bring our oil to market, to fuel your boats, your cities, to turn on the lights, illuminating the smiles around the Sunday dinner table in the homes of so many we affectionately consider out larger, extended family. At British Petroleum, we finally saw our opportunity to help everyone continue this treasured region’s resurgence. So we blew up the Deepwater Horizon.
We are BP and we are here, for you.
This oil spill will help stop coastal erosion.
Over the past five months, media coverage has been extensive and rightfully so. While we worked diligently to clean up the oil with the help of our life partners across the Gulf Coast, we felt it important to keep the decades old problem of coastal erosion in the news because we are BP and we are here, for you. Despite knowing our brand could suffer, we felt the problem must be addressed, now. Our fine political leaders only needed a gentle nudge in the correct direction. Coastal erosion needed to be part of our national discourse and the environmentalists needed finally to be heard. By spilling the oil, we helped wake up this country to the facts of this degradation, and we have pledged to contribute $500 million dollars of our own money to the study of coastal erosion, to find the solution and move forward. It is our hope that this pledge will be seen in the proper light, of one company trying to give back to the region that has given us so much. It is our hope this pledge also inspires others across this great land to also give, to see this region prosper for centuries to come.
This oil spill has helped create jobs and educational opportunity.
As the recession has deepened, we looked in vain for political leaders in the region to create jobs programs that would help the fine residents: our teachers, our mothers, our police officers and returning soldiers keep food on their tables, their ships at the docks and their homes from foreclosure. We recognized that opportunities were dwindling for the bright young students just leaving college, just as we saw that so many of those colleges science departments were suffering from government cutbacks. At British Petroleum, we are here, for you, and we acted. We created a program called vessels of opportunity that put so many fisherman to work earning more than they ever could have fishing. We created thousands of cleanup jobs to provide valued work experience for so many, and life-sustaining work for real, family men and women. We donated thousands to science programs in colleges throughout the Gulf States, hiring many of their scientists to research the Gulf, research coastal erosion, to help make the sparkling waters of the Gulf shine brighter than they ever have before and we did it all, not for you, but with you, partners.
British Petroleum has developed a program to help both business and family thrive.
We here at British Petroleum have taken it upon ourselves to design and fund an escrow account of $20 billion dollars to fund the continued resurgence of the Gulf Coast. This recession has hit the entire country, and knowing the Gulf Coast states simply did not have the revenue stream necessary to help its residents, we stepped in and worked in conjunction with the Obama Administration to ensure that the people in the Gulf Coast would not have to suffer like the rest of the country. We did it, because we are BP and we are here, for you. This fund will be accessed and distributed by our fine associate, Ken Feinberg who will see to it that no one is left behind. Assistance with medical bills, with businesses feeling the recession’s pinch, with homeowners struggling to pay mortgages: we are here, for you and we will not leave until all is made right, again.
The oil spill has encouraged wildlife conservation.
Before the spill, we were concerned that the great natural resources of the Gulf’s waters and coast were being neglected, taken for granted, even used up. The ascending media attention has undergone great strides to ensure that the country as a whole is now aware of the great many species that need our help. Ridley turtles, whales, dolphins, rays, terns and pelicans are just a few of the species we have helped inject into the consciousness of this country at a time when it was most needed. The truly great citizens of the United States are now aware of all that must be done. Through programs initiated by our company, we have helped to institute relocation of the turtles, released into the Atlantic Ocean or off the coast of Texas to clean waters, away from the Gulf’s summer dead zone so they will have the chance to grow, thrive and continue to exhibit the natural beauty of their movements, reflecting through shimmering water the very resilience of the people who live in the Gulf Coast’s surrounding communities.
British Petroleum stands strong with Gulf Coast.
At BP, we stand committed, strong with all residents of the Gulf Coast. We understand the spill has created hardship, but we saw an opportunity to help and despite any lost profits, we felt it necessary to do just that, help. Through our media spotlights, our job creation, our financial commitments to families, business and universities we feel that we have inspired a nation to recognize the true worth of the Gulf and all its resources and natural beauty. We here at British Petroleum stand united with each resident in the great states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and we are proud to serve each and every one of you as a willing partner. We are proud to work with the Obama administration, the Coast Guard, the EPA, FDA and the NOAA. With the Gulf Coast, we stand strong, and getting stronger everyday and we will remain until all is well, until each and every family is again, made whole.
We are British Petroleum and we are here, with you.
For further information:
BP Press Office, London: +44 20 7496 4076
BP Press Office, US: +1 281 366 0265