BP Issues ‘Blank Check’ For Local Marketing Around Gulf Coast Oil Spill

BP stands to spend a lot of money both cleaning up the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast, as well as marketing for their brand and to help local and regional businesses affected by the spill.

On the marketing front, already BP has spent or plans to spend tens of millions of dollars. Rick Outzen says in The Daily Beast that BP is “secretly buying PR,” in part because the company’s name doesn’t appear in a TV advertisement to support regional tourism boards.

However, while the company’s name may not appear in the ad, it isn’t exactly a secret that states are asking BP for marketing dollars and that the company is funding them.

Here are the details on some of the local efforts by BP:

…the oil giant wants it local marketers to buy ads, distribute fliers at their stations, hold customer appreciation days and use BP-supplied talking points to build a word-of-mouth campaign to ‘diffuse or deflect negative commentary’ about the BP oil spill, according sources inside the oil industry.

More critically, BP has told its marketers that it will pay all the costs for the approved ads, fliers and postcards that are printed and distributed. Normally, BP pays only half of advertising costs the way a fast-food franchise and franchisee might split local marketing bills. In other words, the locals have a blank check to spread the BP gospel in their communities.

In addition, BP CEO Tony Hayward must also focus on internal communications to reassure staff during the crisis.

“I know that many of you have questions about how this incident will impact BP, your jobs, pensions, and our future plans,” Mr. Hayward said in an email sent to BP staff and obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “The strength of the BP balance sheet allows us to take on this responsibility” of responding to the disaster.”

Publish date: May 19, 2010 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/bp-issues-blank-check-for-local-marketing-around-gulf-coast-oil-spill/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT