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    Trying to Repair Image, BP To Run New TV Commercials

    Recent efforts fail to impress consumers.

    NEW YORK -- Although President Barack Obama criticized BP for spending a reported $50 million on television advertising while the oil company has failed to fix its leaking well, BP is preparing a series of new ads to air for the next few weeks, the oil company told The Wall Street Journal.

    BP aired a TV ad late last week featuring a personal apology from CEO Tony Hayward, who promises to pay for the cleanup.

    However, the ad failed to resonate with consumers and crisis experts, according to Ju Young Lee, co-founder and chief scientist of Ace Metrix, a firm that polled consumers on their reactions to the spot. "In a nut shell," she told the newspaper, "what consumers are saying is that they have been waiting for BP to say something and, after hearing it, they say they didn't learn anything new."

    In its poll of 560 consumers ages 21 to 54, Ace Metrix found approximately 75 percent disagreed Hayward was the right person to lead BP out of its image disaster. Lee said one in five respondents said they had a hard time believing Hayward's sincerity in the ad, according to The Wall Street Journal report.

    "It's very unfortunate that Tony Hayward is the face of this crisis," James S. O'Rourke, a professor of management at the University of Notre Dame, told the newspaper. BP has spent too much time "cleaning up" after Hayward's public missteps, he said, referring to Hayward's comment that he "wanted [his] life back."

    BP's Gowers said the oil company is tracking the reaction to its ads and is "happy with how they are performing." He would not comment on whether Hayward will appear in the new ads. The campaign "will include a range of people and information about our response to the crisis," he told the newspaper.

    BP declined to report how much it is spending on the effort. The oil company suspended all regular corporate advertising, saying it is using the funds to address the oil spill and environmental crisis. Last year, BP spent nearly $100 million on advertising time and space, according to an advertising-tracking unit of WPP plc.

    Chris Gidez, U.S. director of crisis communications at Hill & Knowlton NY, a unit of WPP, told the newspaper: "Until the leak is stopped, no amount of advertising or PR will help."

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