By Noel Young, Correspondent

December 24, 2011 | 2 min read

Today, as Americans are still relaxing at home after their Christmas dinner, BP will launch a 60-second ad to let them know about the British firm's progress in cleaning up the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the spring of 2010.

The spot is the first in a series which will run across America in early 2012, reports Ad Age magazine. All will feature BP employees. The first star is New Orleans native Iris Cross -- a 29-year veteran of BP - who points out among other things that all Gulf beaches and waters are now open.

The ad, BP's first in over a year, was produced by Purple Strategies, working along with Ogilvy on the digital ads, and Ogilvy PR in Washington, on a social media campaign.

Following the oil spill, BP launched its "Voices of BP" campaign in 2010 . In this employees took to the air, promising Americans the company would restore the Gulf Coast and fix damage to the environment caused by the spill.

A later campaign, "Voices of the Gulf," had local business and community leaders as the stars , promoting tourism along the Gulf Coast.

The new commercial ties in with BP moving from clean-up into an environmental-restoration and research phase.

Geoff Morrell, BP America's VP of communications, said: "We made a commitment not only to restore the Gulf but also to keep the American people informed of that effort. We've made significant strides over the past year and believe it's a good time to provide a progress report to the nation."

BP did not have the best of luck in choosing the footage for the ad. On the Ad Age site, one snide comment points out that 48 seconds into the video you see The National Shrimp Festival, and a canopy tent on the beach with yellow signs. The signs belong to Anti-BP Protesters. " This is hilarious, " says the commenter. "Their advertising is as good as their safety record."