Washington (CNN) – Energy giant BP has hired a Washington-based, bipartisan political consulting firm to produce its new aggressive national advertising push, including a national TV spot released Thursday, CNN has learned.
Sources familiar with the arrangement say that Purple Strategies, headed up by veteran political consultants Steve McMahon, a Democrat, and Alex Castellanos, a Republican, produced new advertisements now running on both television and in newspapers.
The sources say that BP hired Purple Strategies to produce what will likely be a series of advertisements as part of BP's attempt to rehabilitate its battered image.
Purple Strategies is working alongside the Brunswick public relations firm, which has had BP as a client for some time. Its Washington office is run by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen.
The television ads, running on national cable and broadcast stations, have the same tag line as the full page print ads running in major newspapers: "We will get this done. We will make this right."
In the TV spot, BP CEO Tony Hayward narrates, saying "to those affected and your families, I'm deeply sorry. The Gulf is home for thousands of BP employees and we all feel the impact."
One of the sources familiar with the advertising strategy says BP executives want to make clear they know it's important for people to see and hear that the company understands the magnitude of the oil spill, and the effect it's having on people's lives, livelihood and the environment.
The fact that BP decided to go with an advertising firm led by experts at political campaigns, rather than the traditional "Madison Avenue" corporate advertising firm, is noteworthy.
Even before the oil spill, BP had beefed up its Washington presence, spending more than $3.5 million in the first three months of this year on lobbying, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
The lobbying firms working for BP are among the most influential in Washington, including the Podesta Group (headed by Tony Podesta, one of Washington's top lobbyists and the brother of former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta) and the Duberstein Group (headed by former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein). They were originally hired to represent BP's interests as major energy and financial legislation moves through Congress.
However, sources involved in BP's lobbying efforts, say that since the April 20 oil rig explosion, the lobbying firms have had an all-hands-on-deck approach in trying to help BP deal with the myriad of congressional inquiries.
Another source familiar with BP's communications strategy says the company also hired local public relations firms in the four affected states.
Castellanos and Rosen are both CNN political contributors and Republican strategist John Feehery, who frequently appears on CNN, is also involved in BP's communications strategy relating to the oil spill.