Television news coverage of the oil now washing ashore in Louisiana means sinking hopes of recovering from this environmental disaster anytime soon. As the BP-leased drilling platform caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last week, so did the hopes of top executives. Here’s a quote from BP CEO Tony Hayward “Reputationally, and in every other way, we will be judged by the quality, intensity, speed and efficacy of our response.” See more from the NY Times article here:

It’s a classic case of oil spill damage control. All that is left for them to do is respond quickly, responsibly and show us the company has a conscience by taking action and telling the public what is being done. What do you think the company executives can do better? What should they do?


16 thoughts on “PR Crisis for British Petroleum

  1. Bottom line this incident should not have happened. I do believe that there are many companies conduct business in a reasonable and responsible manner. As in any industry extras cost money. The company is playing a gambling game with there unwillingness to spend extra money on safety measures, safety equipment and proper training. This unwillingness is going to cost them and us. At this point the damage is done there is no going back. The company is going to have to pay for the clean up. They should also pay for the damages to local industry, such as fishing. I think that this incident could have been avoided. Incidents like this do not happen without precursory incidents leading up to a large disaster. I hope that BP changes policies in the future regarding safer and more reliable practices.

  2. I agree with Anthony regarding
    The company is going to have to pay for the clean up. They should also pay for the damages to local industry, such as fishing.
    But you also mention that the damage has already been done. I disagree, the damage continues to leak to this day 19 days after the original explosion. I also agree that BP should have multiple safety shutoff valves that will stop this type of complete failure. I’m curious to see how they manage to put the “dome” on the leak. Overtime the earths crust moves and will then jolt the dome out of position causing another leak. I don’t think it is the correct solution, but hey what do I know they are hiring the smartest engineers to figure this out (hopefully). Besides the obvious failure of oversight from BP itself and government regulatory agencies. Its’ unfortunate that the Gulf Region like Alaska will lose decades of revenue from numerous industries. Exxon Valdez is still in the minds of Alaskan Fisherman.

  3. At the start of this incident it was interesting to see how BP, Transocean, and Haliburton all started to point fingers at each other. When in reality they all played some significant part in the incident and BP should have stepped up and tried to work with all parts of the problem instead of deflecting. I think another thing that needs to happen would be BP showing that they care and are reaching all of their publics and not just appeasing the government. The CEO letting a reporter accompany him for a day and flying over the oil spill isn’t enough in terms of taking some CSR quality action.

  4. It is interesting to make a comment on this article and subject, many weeks into the spill since this was written. The reason is that so many things have transpired since this article and it makes one think “only if the writer had a time machine”, he/she would possible have been called a mad person. Back then, we thought a handsome 5000 barrels were gushing per day, now the estimate is 100,000! What happened? The Top Hat cover that didn’t work has occurred and the plug to fix the leak is only containing twenty percent of the leaking. As far as the Executives, they are classically pointing fingers and saying they are doing all they can. What will be in four more weeks is anyones guess.

  5. I think it’s really interesting to see what social media and blogging is doing to the whole situation. Just looking through blogs and dashes I’ve seen countless joke new BP logos[], and comics. Even this Twitter page popped up:
    Look at the amount of followers that page has in comparison to the actual BP twitter. 60,000 more followers.
    It’s kind of interesting to see how people are making all these parodies about BP but I really still haven’t heard much from BP about these things.
    Do you think that it’s important to put out/or address the little things or just focus on the huge critical disaster at hand?

  6. I’m currently reading an article on Yahoo about how BP’s “top kill” effort has failed. I’m just shocked at how this disaster is becoming well…disastrous by the hour. My friend told me she was watching a news special where a reporter was interviewing some high official in BP and how he avoided the use of the word “disaster” in regards to the oil spill during the interview. I don’t think there’s any euphemism to describe what’s going on here.

    1. I agree. It looks like to me that BP is just throwing money at this problem and hoping that will solve the problem. You would think by now that this problem would be been resolved. As we discussed in class, BP should have already had a plan of attack in place for these types of events.

      1. BP really isn’t throwing that much money at the problem…BP really has been hesitant to make any big decisions to help come to a conclusion. With the greatness of profit that BP makes I feel they should spend whatever amount of money necessary to quickly find a solution. At this point in the game BP should be spending millions to create the best problem solution.

  7. It seems that as the days turn into months, this incident becomes exponentially worse instead of better. I have found information stating the leak may be contained as early as August. I have heard roomer of another leak that was found a short distance from the main leak. Has anyone been able to confirm this?
    I am still disturbed as news rolls out about this incident. It is odious that BP just hopped for the best and had wishful thinking that nothing bad would happen. With the incident itself and the obvious lack of crisis planning it is apparent that BP suffers from an internal managerial problem. This problem needs to be addressed.

  8. How about “Beyond Pathetic?”
    It is a shame that such a fine brand could have entered this predicament with no emergency communications plan in place. Too often, disasters are handled on an ad hoc, “Okay, what do we do now?” basis.
    If BP had engaged a PR firm that had recommended an emergency/crisis PR plan, they would have known that the proper course would have been to express sincere sorrow for the loss of life, and then to promise to work with regulatory officials at every level. Then they could have provided updates on the attempts to repair damage.

  9. “Beyond pathetic” is right. News media is keeping us updated on a bunch of chickens with their heads chopped off–at least that’s how I look at it. I don’t have a good answer for them, but all I’ve been seeing is more blame-shifting than actual resolution strategies. And now it seems that they’re going to try to plug the hole again using a “revamped” plan, but if it doesn’t work they say that it will cause oil to drain even faster than before! I can’t keep from nodding my head in disappointment. BP’s reputation is definitely being judged, but not on the basis that they’ve approached this issue in the right way. All the parties involved need to begin to take ownership–no matter how small of a part they’ve played–and put their million-dollar heads together to find something that actually works.

  10. The BP oil spill will most definitely go down in the record books! Since the oil spill has happened and the article was posted several issue have come to the surface. It really is sad to say that things documented such as the amount of oil spilling was off by an astronomical amount. The BP executives failed. They should of had a back up plan a,b,c,d,and e when in fact they had one plan that failed. BP needs to put themselves on the line in my opion by spending any amount of money to solve this problem asap.

  11. This incident reminded me of the GE’s chemical waste in the the Housatonic River, this was in 1983, when the New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York to force GE to pay for the cleanup of what was estimated to be more than 100,000 tons of chemicals dumped where it was legal at that time from their plant in Waterford. the company agreed to pay a $250 million settlement in connection with claims.

  12. BP upper management needs to adopt a policy of being more involved with organizational and subsidiary ground-level operations. This lack of attention and/or ethics is exactly why they are in this situation right now. Management wants more productivity and they want it yesterday so they can make the shareholders happy and they really don’t care how the work gets done or what gets ignored in the process. The fact is, BP has screwed up many times in the past and it always has to do with a lack of equipment management and willful ignorance of safety codes and standards that result in environmental degradation and the loss of human lives. It makes sense that these actions came back to bite them in the most expensive (both financially and environmentally) possible way. It is surprising that a company that is this big hadn’t previously even thought about planning for a worst case scenario like this. With no end in sight, let’s all hope that these managers get the message sooner rather than later.

  13. BP has obviously made a major, major mistake by not following the protocol that was supposedly instituted when a red flag arose and they continued their mission which now lies in the hands of millions of people who will suffer because of it. I don’t know if they could have created a disaster that could be any worse other than spilling tons of debilitating chemicals into our waters. I surely hope they find a solution soon, and next time plan for the worst of the worst scenarios. That is, if they’re ever afforded a next time!

  14. After the reaction of the CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, the famous TV show South park, broadcast on Comedy Central, shared their point of view on this crisis.
    This first video has been viewed more than eight hundred thousand times. It also have more than 90% of dislikes.
    Please find below the two YouTube links for these videos :
    Real apology from BP’s CEO :

    South Park preview :

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