How BP’s Oil Spill Made Them Into a Green Company Overnight

On April 20th 2010, one of British Petroleum’s oil rigs burst open on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The constant flow of oil rushed into the gulf for 87 days until it was finally capped. This incident became the largest oil spill in the industry, and took a huge toll on the gulf’s environment. Oil is toxic to almost all organisms, and the spill killed a countless number of fish and birds who call the gulf home. This tragic event put a huge dent into the fishing industry in the gulf shore states and put many people into unemployment.

BP’s response was an ad campaign claiming that they were sorry and have been working hard to clean up the Gulf. They made themselves seem as if they care deeply about the environment and that they were a green company. All of the advertisement showed BP employees cleaning off birds that were black with oil, and they talked extensively on how the gulf is getting better and almost back to the condition that it once was before their irresponsible spill. They never once showed what the damage really looked like they only shed light onto adorable pelicans being cleaned off with Dawn Dish Soap. BP did not dwell on the fact that it could have been prevented nor that it was a huge flaw on their part, they only showed what they were doing to fix the gulf and restore to a broken state of what it once was.

A popular TV show shed light on this thought, South Park created a satirical episode criticizing BP’s actions and their response to the spill. They hyperbolized the fact that all BP had to say was “we’re sorry” while depicting their CEO Tony Hayward in numerous locations surrounded by a beautiful scenery, created by nature in which they were currently destroying.

Ben Brookhart

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6 thoughts on “How BP’s Oil Spill Made Them Into a Green Company Overnight

  1. hahahaha I’m so happy someone brought this up. Probably one of the funniest things South Park has ever done. Honestly, if this spill wouldn’t of happened then BP would still be drilling at the rate they were when this happened. The classic case of sorry you got caught.

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  2. I completely agree with this (great reference by the way). I remember seeing some ads that BP did after the spill showing how much they invested back into America and it’s communities. The ironic part of all this is that it was actually a fine but BP framed it in a manner like they cared and were investing more in America than any company.

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  3. I completely agree with this (great reference by the way). I remember seeing some ads that BP did after the spill showing how much they invested back into America and it’s communities. The ironic part of all this is that it was actually a fine but BP framed it in a manner like they cared and were investing more in America than any company.

    Adam Hacker

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  4. I loved this southpark episode. They did a great job of mocking BP and their response to the oil spill. I also think that the BP commercial we watched in class kind of reminded me of this, because they acted like they cared so much in the ad, but you got this feeling that they are only doing it for the purpose of protecting their business future.

    -Andrew Zacharias

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  5. You make a good point and the video is awesome hahaha. People are suckers, honestly, and by presenting BP in a positive light and highlighting only good details, no matter how minuscule they were, the public’s opinion could easily be swayed and made to believe BP is some righteous company with the best intentions

    Diana Bolton

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  6. To start, I agree with you. I do, no doubt BP should be in hot water for this…. but…. let me be the devil’s advocate for once and ask, have you purchased BP gas since? Castrol Motor Oil? And/or anything else that is somehow tied to BP? BP messed up, and they took advantage of a bad situation, selfishly, but to the public, they tried to appear self-less. First thing, BP is huge, they could’ve not made a apology and not changed their ways and still have a good shot at surviving and chucking it up to it as a mistake and it happens… so at least they did apologized and also changed their ways. Even though it was for selfish reasons, and/or they may not really be keeping up with “being green”; but if this didn’t happen, they would still be operating as they did before. If you were to look at it in a positive way at all, its horrible for everyone but at least it was a big enough mistake that they had no choice but to step back and say “ok we messed up, we need to make this up big time!” So even though they are selfish and they messed up and it it was a horrible situation…. at least they know now that they messed up and they are on a short string and maybe something good might come from this?

    -Gerald Brenner

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