Obama Criticizes BP for Spending Money on Ad Campaigns and Shareholders

President Obama warns BP not to “nickle and dime” Gulf Coast fisherman and business owners while spending money on expensive ads and paying billions to shareholders.

Have you seen BP’s latest ad campaign? A forlorn Tony Hayward says he’s “deeply sorry” and thanks the volunteers and government for their “strong support.” He promises that BP will “make this right.”

BP is also running several print ads in the largest, most influential newspapers such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Washington Post. The company hopes to begin repairing its damaged brand image. But at what cost? Well, according to, approximately $50 million. And President Barack Obama was none to happy to hear about the news.

The president spent Friday in New Orleans meeting with top federal and state officials about the gulf crisis. The president also heard from local fishermen and small-business owners who expressed fear about how the oil slick may affect their livelihoods.

On top of the $50 million for BP’s feel-good ads, the president also found out BP paid $10.5 billion in quarterly dividend to shareholders. He had some harsh words for the oil giant…

“Now, I don’t have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations, but I want BP to be very clear they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the gulf for the damage that has been done. And what I don’t want to hear is, when they’re spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising, that they’re nickel-and-diming fisherman or small businesses here in the gulf who are having a hard time.”


What do you think of the BP ad? Will it help the company’s brand image? Or was it a ridiculous use of money?

Follow Cindy Tickle on Twitter @ethicalbiz
Image Credit: petesimon via flickr under a CC license

Written by Cindy Hoots

With more than 10 years experience working for a major Fortune 500 company, Cindy specializes in socially and environmentally responsible business strategies. She has developed successful corporate communications and stakeholder engagement strategies on contentious sustainability issues and has worked with a number of NGOs and activist organizations on how to effectively partner with multinational companies. Cindy frequently writes about topics ranging from what is corporate social responsibility to sustainable supply chain and measuring a company's environmental impact. She believes business plays a vital role in the health of our communities and our planet.


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