Amid scores of Gulf oil spill-related PR pitches and news releases dished out over the past month, here are a few patterns we see emerging that range from nefarious to altruistic with some questionable, necessary and even noble points in between.
1. The "we're helping out and letting you know about it" approach:
"The oil spill in the Gulf has been devastating to the environment and communities in that area. In light of this tragedy, SC Johnson ... is donating approximately 5,000 product units of its trusted pest repellent brand OFF!®."
"[FedEx] will be donating resources to transport hundreds of nests containing thousands of eggs to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, and its logistics experts are working with the Unified Command and its partner organizations to implement this complex translocation."
2. The "just a few tar balls, come on down anyway" approach from Galveston, Tex.:
"Mayor Joe Jaworski is encouraging tourism to Galveston throughout the summer season through a public service announcement distributed today. In spite of the recent collection of tar balls on Galveston, Mayor Jaworski wants visitors to know 'all 32 miles of Galveston’s beaches are clean, safe, open and awaiting summer tourists.'"
"Like the plume of oil spreading from the April 20 Deepwater Horizon incident, confusion and uncertainty are swirling around the Gulf Coast region, particularly the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. ...Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. members have some comfort in knowing they are only a phone call away from legal counsel from their local market PPD provider law firm."
"The BP oil spill is exposing thousands of gulf coast residents to foul odors and elevated levels of chemicals. While the EPA found that so far concentrations are below government exposure threshold levels, it acknowledges that they can cause sensitive residents to suffer from health effects such as headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea..."
5. The company policy change to make life easier in a crisis tack:
"Under the new policy, Hotels.com will offer a longer booking cancellation window as guests have the option to cancel their hotel reservation on the day of arrival until 5 p.m. Central Time to receive a full refund on unused nights with no penalty or fee. Additionally, Hotels.com has lessened the confusion by not instituting mileage requirements from government closed beaches to be qualified for the policy."
"Orbitz customers with plans for a beach vacation along the Florida Gulf Coast this summer can rest easier. Orbitz.com announced today its Open Beach Guarantee, developed in partnership with participating Florida hotels, which offers full refunds on standalone hotel reservations* if the beach at a customer's destination is closed due to the oil spill."
"EMS Aviation, a division of mobile connectivity leader EMS Technologies, Inc., announced today that its FLEET tracking system is being used by Florida-based Heliworks Inc. to help rescue birds endangered by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."
"Sixteen U.S. Army National Guard UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters are operating in the Gulf Coast region to support oil spill monitoring and response missions known as Operation Deepwater Horizon."
"Saratoga Resources today announced that the continuing, well-publicized, Gulf of Mexico oil spill is not anticipated to have any material impact on its current or future operations, including its in-field development and drilling program."
"Abita announced the launch of a nation-wide fundraising effort to assist those impacted by the oil spill disaster. ...The centerpiece of the fundraising effort is a new charitable beer called SOS - A Charitable Pilsner. 75 cents for every bottle sold will go to charity."
9. The "we have a product that might work if you pay us" pitch from Pacific Sands:
"Pacific Sands, a manufacturer of a broad range of environmentally friendly cleaning products, announced the development of the Critter Cleaner™ product for cleaning domestic and wildlife animals that have been contaminated with gooey oil such as generated by the recent Gulf Oil Spill or future transportation related oil spills that could occur on the nearby Great Lakes."
"As President Obama prepares to address the nation about the BP oil disaster tonight, at 8pm ET, experts from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) with years of experience working on Gulf Coast environmental issues are available before, and after, the speech to provide commentary."