I believe that BP has made a lot of headway in both court of public opinion and in the physical clean up of the gulf, but there is a lot more to this story to me. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 but if the BP oil spill does not happen, then this PR campaign of being eco-friendly and trying to be the leader in that school of thought never occurs in my opinion.
The company, especially right after the incident, was incredibly visible and are still doing that today with their website and their occasional ads on television. They are very thorough on this particular page. They are not only talking about what they are doing to protect the Gulf’s environment, but they are taking an initiative to repair the economy of the Gulf, which obviously took a hit due to the spill making the fishing and tourism industry fall out. One thing that I do think heightens their communication efforts is their willingness to be transparent about the accident. There is a tab that leads to all the details about the spill.
Obviously at this point, the newsworthiness of the spill as a national story has subsided, which is why we see BP funding state-led campaigns and marketing programs and no longer doing those things on a national scale. On those two ventures BP is spending about 228 million dollars on those PR based projects. So to an effect, they have capitalized on their communication efforts because they have been able to adapt as the national picture subsides but the long term effects on the local environment and economy are still at large.
The other side of it though, is that if the company did have vested interest in the protection of the environment like it said it was right after the spill, then it would still have some sort of national presence in that effort. The webpage and their breakdown of monies spent does not have anything that would suggest a major national communications campaign, so in that regard they are not capitalizing.
BP is doing what it can, but it is all rooted in reactionary PR tactics which means their concern for it only goes as far as people look down on them for it.