Of course it’s an outrage that BP spent $93 million on advertising while dragging its feet on paying even small, clear-cut claims from victims of its spill. And we should be livid, but what’s interesting is any element of surprise people still have over BP’s strategy here.
Look, the BP idea is that this will largely blow over. Sure, people in the Gulf will continue to be engaged, but the company knows the global media spotlight will eventually move on. And here’s the thing about those ads: They are only the most visible tip of a public relations iceberg. The ads mostly tried to put a human face on Big Oil and the spill, putting local workers between the company and its responsibility.
BP and its partners know that time is on their side – delay claims, and people get frustrated, families fall apart under the financial strain, workers move on – so every single day saves them millions of dollars. And so far, the “new” claims process is also delaying the vast majority of claims, adding to the stress.
As for the advertising, what did we expect? The campaign is structured to hide a ruthless company behind workers who can hardly say what they really think; and next it will hide behind jobs as though it cared about working families. Then it will hide behind its “real people” shareholders, just like it does in London where you’d think its purpose was to support pension funds, not make obscene profits.
The take-away from the advertising campaign should be outrage, but it should also remind us that this company is in no way humbled by its role in the worst peacetime oil spill in history.
Here’s a story with some of the details: http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/Bp-Spent-93-Million-On-Ads-As-Claims-Languished/924141/Sep-01-2010_3-06-pm/
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