BP’s $93 Million Ad Blitz

In the months since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, BP has spent a whopping $93 million on advertising. That’s three times the amount they spent during the same period last year.

The ads, which have been featured on on local and national television and print publications, have promoted BP’s efforts to clean up the giant mess they made in the Gulf.

“BP told the committee that they have increased advertising expenditures for a number of reasons, including to keep Gulf Coast residents informed of issues relating to the oil spill and recovery and to ensure transparency during the recovery process,” wrote Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a letter to Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who had requested the information. Waxman wrote to the company last month requesting BP’s ad figures.

The increased spending was “almost entirely targeted at national and local newspapers and magazines and national and local television advertising,” Waxman writes. A small portion was also spent on online advertising.

More from Waxman’s letter:

BP also indicated that it significantly expanded the markets in which it ran local newspaper advertisements during the 2010 period. From April to the end of July 2009, the company ran local market newspaper advertisements in two states and the District of Columbia. In that same period in the 2010, the company ran local newspaper advertisements in 126 markets in 17 states, including the states directly impacted by the oil spill – Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi–as well as California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Texas.

Waxman also notes that BP provided $89.5 million in grants to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to promote tourism, some of which was likely used for advertising, too.

Combined, that means BP has spent $182.9 million on advertising and public relations efforts since the spill. To put this in perspective, that’s about half as much of the money they spent on actually compensating the victims of the spill—which was just $368 million as of last week, when the independently administered, $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility assumed responsibility for doling out compensation.


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.