BP set to release new round of oil spill TV commercials this week

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by Tiffany Craig / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 7, 2010 at 6:11 PM

HOUSTON—BP is trying to work on its image and the oil spill at the same time. The company is set to release a new round of television commercials this week.

11 News took a copy of the latest TV ad to a group of coffee-drinkers at Waldo’s Coffee House in the Heights. The ad features BP CEO Tony Hayward apologizing to the people.

Deb Theotokatos said she believes him.

"Yeah, I would say he is believable in this commercial," Theotokatos said.

Her coffee-mate Jared Polak agreed.

"He’s saying that BP is gonna do everything they can to take action and make it better," Polak said. "I think it’s all you can do in this situation."

The estimated price on cleaning up BP’s image is $50 million—a cost that’s angering Gulf Coast fisherman.

But the release of more commercials is a smart move, according to marketing professor Dr. Betsy Gelb. Gelb is a professor at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business.

"You have to give your supporters a story they can tell so it’s not like we have nothing to say, there’s nothing good about us. We’re hiding," Gelb said.

But even Dr. Gelb isn’t convinced that the commercials will win anyone over.

"I can’t think that the general public is feeling kindly toward them before the ads, during the ads, after the ads," Gelb said.

Back at Waldo’s, Vicki Zahand said she believes BP is doing a juggling act.

"They have some competing priorities," said Zahand. "They’ve gotta deal with the PR issue but they first and foremost, have to deal with getting it capped off."

BP officials confirmed the purchase of Google and Yahoo search words and phrases like "oil spill." In other words, if you type certain words into a search engine, BP’s website will pop up first.

A spokesperson said the decision to buy terms was not to steer Web browsers away from negative news, but direct them to important information on their site.

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