THE GULF OIL SPILL: DIMMING THE MEDIA’S HARSH SPOTLIGHT

In April of 2010, the largest marine oil spill in history was caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. As the drama played out on TV screens around the world for 108 days straight, every company involved with the rig–BP chief among them–saw its brand eviscerated by an accident the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Exxon Valdez.

PROBLEM 

As the US government took aggressive steps to assess the accident and assign blame, a foreign-owned conglomerate and ten percent non-operating minority investor faced the urgent possibility of brand evisceration, astronomical regulatory fines and massive legal liability. This Japanese company needed to disassociate itself from BP without offending them, regulators or the truth. And all of this had to be done prior to a shareholders meeting in Tokyo in ten days’ time.

APPROACH 

LEVICK set up a global war room and worked with legal, IR, brand and all aspects of the team in a coordinated effort to maximize the truth and minimize the growing narrative that everyone associated with Deepwater Horizon was at fault. LEVICK was an intimate party navigating a hostile media, shareholder strategy, congressional hearings, regulator interface and litigation, leaving no detail, no matter how small, to chance.

RESULTS 

At no point since the disaster has the company’s name ever been immediately associated with the spill. Sometimes it is good to be forgotten.