BP’s lack of PR savvy in the ongoing oil spill crisis is relatively surprising, considering the size of the company — and its very public, long-time advertising campaign promoting itself as relatively “green.”
Advertising Age spoke with Harlan Loeb, the director of crisis and issues management at Edelman PR, about the response.
Loeb commented, “This kind of event should clearly have been contemplated in their crisis simulations… BP is an enormous actor in offshore drilling and exploration and the fact that this kind of event took place, while tragic and horrible, should not leave BP looking totally unprepared.“
Beyond unpreparedness, the article lists BP’s other major transgressions in its handling of the incident:
- The company has failed to establish a consistent presence in the media coverage of the incident. “It’s beginning to spin out of control for them,” Loeb tells AA.
- One of the first statements BP made asked residents to promise not to sue in exchange for a financial settlement . A company’s first messages in a crisis should never be focused on covering its legal bases.
- BP should have described the huge challenge it was facing and how it was working closely with the government; instead, messages from executives asking for government help made it seem like the company couldn’t handle the situation on its own.
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