British Petroleum divulged to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that it has tripled its advertising over the prior year in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) thinks the money is ill-spent and is sending the wrong message to local citizens.
“BP’s extensive advertising campaign that is solely focused on polishing its corporate image in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout disaster is making people angry,” said Castor. “As small businesses, fishermen, and mom and pop motels, hotels and restaurants struggle to make ends meet, they are bombarded by BP’s corporate marketing largess day after day. BP should be doing more to address the damage to the Gulf Coast tourism industry, fishing industry, and for researchers and for the taxpayers.”
According to the E&C report, BP has given $89.5M to local tourism organizations in the affected Gulf states, nearly equaling its advertising expenditures.
Castor does not seem to think that the company is doing enough. She continued, “While BP’s advertising campaign ramped up, businesses and the Gulf communities struggled to deal with the costs of the disaster. While BP’s advertising campaign is being executed like clockwork, business and state claims have languished. While BP certainly has the right to advertise, its approach has been insensitive to the taxpayers and business owners harmed by the Deepwater Horizon blowout. BP should use a significant portion of its advertising dollars to ease the strain on Florida small businesses that rely on tourism. Some of the focus should be devoted to marketing and advertising to promote the beautiful, pristine beaches of Florida and give a boost to our struggling tourism economy.”