BP isn’t only shelling out the big bucks to clean up the Gulf Coast and pay claims following the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, it is also paying millions of dollars to protect its image. The big oil company told the House Energy and Commerce committee that it spent $93 million on corporate advertising between April and July of this year---an average of more than $5 million a week and more than three times the amount it spent during the same period in 2009.
BP told the committee that the increased advertising spending was aimed at keeping Gulf Coast locals up-to-date on the latest oil spill issues and to promote transparency during the recovery period. Most of the spending was directed at newspapers, TV, and magazines.
Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, who asked for the information, is not convinced that it was money well-spent. “While BP’s advertising campaign is being executed like clockwork, business and state claims have languished,” she said. “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 told the committee that it gave $89.5 million in grants to Florida, Alabama, Missisippi, and Louisiana meant to bolster tourism promotion.
As of last week, BP reported it had paid out just under $400 million in claims to individuals and businesses impacted by the spill.