In struggling to save its brand name from drowning in backlash from the Gulf oil disaster, BP has launched multiple efforts to revamp its image as “part of the community.” Now, the “embattled oil giant” has “stepped forward to pay” for the annual July Fourth fireworks display in Durango, CO. Agreeing to pay for the display five months before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, BP is pitching the display as a community donation:
The display typically costs $15,000 and city officials were poised to cancel it because of a budget crunch. But representatives of BP’s office in southwestern Colorado surprised the council by announcing the company would pick up the tab.
Company spokesman Curtis Thomas says BP knows how important the celebration is to the community and didn’t want it to be lost. He says BP hasn’t asked for any advertising in exchange for its donation.
Many conservative leaders have jumped on the “shakedown” bandwagon, seeing BP’s $20 billion for an escrow fund as a real danger to the company’s viability. But if the company can pay for fireworks and baseball trophies while launching aggressive media campaigns and funding a front group to downplay the disaster, BP can cover its responsibility to the victims in the Gulf.