Media Money with Julia Boorstin

BP's Shocking AD Bill ADDS Up


It has been reported that BP admits to spending $1 million a week on advertising and radio since the fatal Gulf Oil Spill and explosion, which would add up to $18 million so far. But the numbers are far more shocking, according to some Kantar Media stats that are circulating on Madison Avenue. BP Plc spent a whopping $65.7 million on ads in the second quarter, compared to just $24.6 million in the year-earlier quarter, according to Kantar. The oil spill was on April 20th, three weeks into the quarter, which indicates a dramatic spike immediately following the spill.

BP's jump in ad spending was even more dramatic between the first and second quarter of the year — just $13.4 million — that's about a fifth of the $65 million in spending this past quarter. Sure, it's impossible to break out how much of the ad spending was directly related to the spill, and we'll see what kind of detail BP provides. Still, those numbers are truly shocking.

President Obama has bashed BP for its ads featuring employees talking about the clean-up process. The company faces a prisoners' dilemma: BP needs to advertise to clean up its brand and improve public opinion but the ad spending bill only makes the company look worse.

This is hardly the first time BP has been slammed in the court of public opinion -- public critique is the very reason the company re-named itself BP, Beyond Petroleum, instead of British Petroleum. That new name, drew a lawsuit from an enrivonrmental activist in 2000. A decade later, the vast majority of BP's revenue still comes from oil and natural gas.

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