BP’s $25 Million For Florida’s Panhandle

Gov. Charlie Crist (NPA-FL) visited the Florida Panhandle a few times since the Deepwater Horizon incident. Hearing from residents and industry leaders about how the already weak economy is worsening because of the bad publicity, BP officials agreed to support an advertising fund to help offset the economic damage with an advertising effort to promote business in the Panhandle.

So far, and according to RicksBlog . . .

State Senator Don Gaetz says that, as of Friday, May 21, BP has not given Florida the $25-million block grant for tourism advertising that BP CEO Tony Hayward promised Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday.

According to State Senator Don Gaetz . . .

state officials are still negotiating a ‘memorandum of understanding’, which must be completed prior to receiving the funds.”

Well, that’s how it started. From there it has gone to a gimme-fest by politicos all over the state. Developing a memorandum of understanding over the $25 million seems only prudent. Especially when you have people like Kendrick Meek showboating for $100 million.

Aside from all that, take a peek at how the Panhandle is going to be ‘promoted.’ No, take a long look at it, and a peek is all you’ll see. Links to the proposed ads as produced by VisitFlorida.com are here:

Link to spots: http://www.2150.tv/getpass.html

password: visitflorida (case sensitive)

There are currently 2 versions of the spot – a general Florida version and a more Northwest Florida oriented spot.

Take a look at those ads. If that’s what they call focused on the Panhandle, I think we need to look to another ad agency with a more effective message. VisitFlorida.com’s website is nothing but a glorified Yahoo travel site. You’re lucky to find beach shots with sugar-white sands, and no mention of the timeliness of the ads and the beautiful conditions that exist in this part of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

But you will find this . . .

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Update

There continue to be no confirmed oil sightings associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Florida’s shores at this time.

The great majority of the hotels/motels are inland. There is no evidence there of any emphasis placed on fighting the negative impression created by the news media and environmentalists.

Considering both ads, if I had to put a percentage to it, as for how much of it is ‘focused’ on the Panhandle and how much of it is generic to Florida, I’d give the Panhandle less than ten percent. And if you don’t live in the area, like 100 percent of the target audience, you wouldn’t recognize anything to do with the Panhandle. It’s a sham.

It seems apparent that Charlie Crist and Alex Sink care more about getting the money to promote Florida than the Panhandle. The place where Florida’s economy is most severely impacted.

Give money to Crist and Sink, and you can kiss it good-bye. Especially in this political season. All the Panhandle is left with is hope. Nothing has changed.