BP has started an unprecedented public relations campaign in Alaska, trying to rebuild its battered image after last year’s oil spills and shutdown in Prudhoe Bay.
In recent weeks, the oil giant has held parties, barbecues and picnics around the state touting the 30th anniversary of the Prudhoe Bay field startup on June 20, 1977. It has begun a summer “road show,” staffing booths at fairs and festivals. College kids are handing out BP literature and knickknacks.
BP has also pledged $2 million over two years to a new cancer center at Providence Alaska Medical Center. The troubled oil giant has also kicked off a new program where employees can get up to $800 a year for local youth sports or academic teams and clubs. Finally it has run large ads in newspapers across the state, many of them cast as personal messages from BP Alaska president Doug Suttles.
BP’s press spokesman, Daren Beaudo, argues the increased PR isn’t directly a result of last year’s fumbles. “We had to come out of this period of deep introspection and become more active and engaged. We went silent.”