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BP Asked To Pay For Ads To Aid Oil Spill States

Oil Spill Spreading - BP Asked to PayMississippi Gulf tourism leaders are just the latest group to ask for advertising money from petroleum giant BP to counteract the negative press from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Mississippi tourism groups wants BP to foot the bill for a $7.5-million-a-month national media campaign that would shift the focus from the state’s increasingly oily beaches to its casinos, entertainment and family attractions.

The request is small compared $35 million emergency advertising blitz Governor Charlie Crist of Florida wants from BP.

Crist announced on Wednesday that he had requested the sum in a letter sent to BP America president Lamar McKay.

Grayton Beach State Park, FloridaThe Florida governor is seeking $24.75 million to pay for a three-month national and international advertising campaign that would help combat the negative publicity caused by the oil spill. An additional $10 million would be used on marketing costs.

Currently, Florida’s unofficial tourism board, Visit Florida, has just $2.5 million that it can spend on advertising to try and protect a $65 billion+ industry that employs about one million people in the state. Florida officials say this is not enough.

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Mississippi tourism is also limited in funds. Though the commission is using about $600,000 from its reserve fund to start a regional campaign, there is not enough money to advertise nationally.

BP Logo - BP Oil SpillThe Florida and Mississippi tourism groups believe that since BP is responsible for the oil spill, then they should help pay to mitigate its effects on tourism.

The odds are good that the states will receive at least part of the advertising money. On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Tourism unveiled two TV spots. Both spots were produced with a $25 million grant given to the state by BP.

The sums being asked from BP, however, are paltry compared to the billions in estimated losses to the tourism and fishing industries along the Gulf Coast. And they’re especially paltry compared with BP’s profits, which are roughly $93 million per day.

Analysts from investment firm Bernstein say that the oil spill could cost the fishing industry in Louisiana $2.5 billion and tourism along Florida’s Panhandle $3 billion.

By Adriana Padilla at

Related Links: Gulfport Sun-Herald, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, Reuters

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