Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BP (NYSE: BP) Pressured to Pay for Florida Ads

In a cynical move to take advantage of the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, Florida Governor Charlie Crist is asking BP (NYSE:BP) to fork over $35 million to pay for an ad campaign telling potential tourists that the waters of Florida don't have any oil tainting the shorelines.

I know what, maybe Boston and other cities should do the same thing. Nice strategy if it works. Just put out an ad campaign saying the oil spill in Lousiana isn't affecting your beaches and BP will pay for it.

Allegedly "thousands" of fearful tourists have canceled or refused to make reservations to visit the area. That's even nutty when you look at it. Now BP is going to be pressured to pay for an ad campaign because people don't make reservations.

Every hotel and motel in Florida can send a bill to BP because people aren't making reservations there. Can they be that stupid? I guess Crist is, probably why he's getting clobbered in the ratings in the state.

The fact that we're still in a recession and people weren't going to book vacations at prior levels doesn't seem to compute with these people.

Talk about shaking down a company in an opportunistic way because they're being perceived negatively from press reports.

BP has already paid out $25 million for expenses related to the spill to Florida, now they want $35 million more to spend on advertising.

Crist had the gall to say he was going to use some of that $25 million already paid for the advertising campaign, but got the brilliant idea of shaking down BP for more.

According to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, occupancy rates are normally at 90 percent or over this time of the year. Of course they didn't mention where they've been at during the recession, which most believe is still going on.

So the idea that Florida businesses should receive millions in advertising to market themselves in a way that says the oil spill hasn't hit there coastlines is ridiculous. Anyone watching the news knows that, and they're just making excuses because of the recessionary pressures on the state, which has been the culprit of their struggling businesses, not a make believe situation that BP is being asked to pay $35 million to counter via advertising.

Think of it. BP is being asked to pay $35 million so Florida can say something hasn't happened to them. I sure hope they don't cave in on this, or they'll be paying for every opportunistic politician trying to buy some votes.

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