BP throws cash at minimising reputational damage over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Under-fire BP is spending millions of dollars to minimise the PR damage caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which has been named the worst oil spill in US history.

Attempts to limit reputation damage: BP
Attempts to limit reputation damage: BP

The company tried to win back some positive coverage by pledging up to $500 million (£347 million) on a research programme to study the impact of the spill and has been taking out US newspaper adverts to highlight the initiative. The costs of the clear-up are approaching the $1 billion mark.

But despite those efforts, BP chief executive Tony Hayward told journalists last week: 'I think this is clearly a major reputational issue for BP.'

The company has sought to increase the transparency of its clean-up operations by launching a dedicated website with a live video feed of the underwater oil leak.

President Obama called on BP to 'pay every dime they owe for the damage they've done and the painful losses that they've caused.' Obama also stressed that the US Federal Government was in charge of the clean-up operation, potentially undermining BP's claims to be in control of the situation.

Social media isn't helping either: a satirical spoof Twitter account named @BPGlobalPR has attracted almost 100,000 followers in a matter of days. Meanwhile BP's official account @BP_America has mustered just 8,500 followers and was hacked into by pranksters who left a joke message.

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