BP is trying to cap negative news with a social media effort.

During Toyota's recall scandal several months ago, the company's social media machine turned its engines on full blast. The campaign--honest and transparent, was by many accounts, extremely successful.

Now, BP is seeking to counter the daily negative news reports about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with a digital PR strategy that includes paid search ads to drive traffic to a microsite linked to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

The PR effort, which is being overseen by lead agency Ogilvy & Mather, is getting mixed reactions from analysts, who question whether BP will hurt its image further by investing in marketing when the oil leak still isn't capped.

From Adweek:

"The advertising could be perceived as very wasteful. [But] it's not like you can reorient your marketing department to clean up beaches," said Sarah Hofstetter, svp, emerging media and brand strategy at 360i. "I think they're doing a good job. There's news that's not getting covered by the media that could be valuable to consumers if they knew it."

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