As Report on BP Spill Hits, Case Study to Chronicle Tourism Crisis Campaign

It’s fitting to me, at least, that the U.S. government report on the BP oil spill in the Gulf was released this week (on Sept. 14), blaming BP for the disaster but affixing some blame to other companies involved. Eleven people died in the explosion and 200 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf before it was capped. Fitting to me because I just wrote a case study on Deveney Communication’s work during the spill for the Louisiana Office of Tourism, which earned one of our Platinum Awards this week for crisis communications. In talking to John Deveney and Jim Hutchinson of LOT about the work to encourage tourism during and after the crisis, it’s interesting to note their considerable experience with disasters in the state of Louisiana. Because of Katrina and Rita and other crises, Deveney Communication and LOT have built a disaster network of 1,100 partners, and knew just how to deploy them when negative public perception struck concerning seafood and the environment. But, this crisis was a bit different, because it didn’t want to end: it took four months to plug the leak. “Every day, we saw that oil leaking out,” said Hutchinson. “But people didn’t realize how big the Gulf is, and how our state could still be in business.”

Of course, who knows what the long-term effects of the spill will be. I just know that Deveney did some great work for LOT, and you can read about it in the Premium Content section of PR News.

–Scott Van Camp

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