The Deepwater Horizon One Year Later: A Brief IMC Analysis

Today marks the one year anniversary of the BP, Deepwater Horizon disaster that leached millions of barrels of oil into the in the Gulf of Mexico, greatly impacting the Gulf Coast.  In the few days following the Deepwater Horizon incident BP came under tremendous scrutiny for the way they chose to address, or not really address, the media.    The former CEO, Tony Hayward, received the brunt of criticism for comments he made, including telling a photographer to get out during a photo-op on the shores of Louisiana.

Following the PR nightmare BP created for itself, the oil company had to get to work repairing their image.  How else were they going to keep selling gas to pay for all the damage the oil leak was causing?  The marketing department sprang to action, launching a campaign that touted their commitment to cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf.  In order to do this they employed tactics and used several channels for delivering their message of being compassionate and concerned about the residents of the Gulf Coast who were affected by the oil spill. Fishermen, hospitality workers, and any others harmed by the Deepwater Horizon accident were going to be reimbursed by BP for the income they were loosing from the impact.  They created jobs in a recession for workers willing to clean up the oil.

In order to let the public know about all of the things they were doing to combat the oil spill BP aired several television commercials, utilized Facebook, and attempted to use twitter, but were parodied.  They utilized Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and spent millions in advertising on Google and several other search engines each month.  Every time anybody searched for anything remotely connected with oil, a spill, the Deepwater Horizon, BP, the Gulf…you get the picture, BP was pulled up.

One year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP’s marketing focus has changed.  Yes, they want you to know about their efforts in the Gulf, however they have shifted their efforts to focusing on BP’s efforts to foster sustainability and utilize renewable resources.  Despite the fact that BP’s marketing message has changed they still are employing a synergistic method to get it out there.  This synergistic technique is synonymous with IMC.

-Eliza Wadson

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