Wanted: Celebrity to Bring Tourists Back to the Gulf of Mexico
Up to 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in the Deepwater Horizon travesty of last year, leaving 11 humans dead and who knows how many fish and water fowl, not to mention the revenues of local fishermen and tourist spots.
Now it appears that BP is looking for a celebrity to help show how the company and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment “are working together to manage the process of cleaning up the environment in and around the Gulf of Mexico,” according to a casting call obtained by Politico.com.
The casting call seeks a celebrity who “could be anyone, male or female, but must be a name, preferably associated in some way with the Gulf Coast area but not required. Can be an actor, musician, entertainer, comedian, athlete, chef, former news anchor, philanthropist, artist, etc.”
However, BP America tells Politico the casting call has nothing to do with them: “This is not related to BP,” said spokesman Tom Mueller. Turns out (according to Politico’s update) that it was for a spec pitch for BP, which has been promoting its restoration and community-building efforts in the Gulf (sans celebrities) in the past year.
The casting call stated that the film would be used in town-hall type meetings and focus solely on the environmental end of things rather than tourism or consumerism. “Other usage may include Internet, social media, print media,” the casting call continued. “Live appearances may be possible for future events.”
While it is now unlikely, given the press, that BP will agree to a celeb-driven campaign, it wouldn’t be the first time that entertainers have rallied support for the Gulf.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that BP has agreed to support a $9 million grant to fund “quality testing and marketing of seafood coming out of Alabama’s Gulf with hopes of reassuring consumers that the state’s products are safe to eat,” according to FoodManufacturing.com.
The site notes that $4 million will go to testing and the rest will go toward promoting Alabama seafood, following the Louisiana seafood industry’s lead with major marketing campaign.
“Sales are down 50-75%,” Patricia Zirlott of southwest Alabama’s Zirlott Seafood told the AP. “Most of it is because of the lack of trust in gulf sea food.”