Adding To The Noise

A critical view of new media, new technology and new marketing.

BP Can’t Get Beyond Petroleum.

2 Comments


Do you know how for years the big oil companies have been trying to tell us that they are not really oil companies? Through PR and corporate campaigns they’ve tried to convince us that they are in fact new energy companies. I think I was actually starting to buy it. BP with its earth friendly yellow and green sun logo and fun illustrated campaign had me convinced they were actually moving beyond petroleum – that is until they started dumping thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Now the company can’t get away from being associated with oil. BPs website is now cluttered with response to the oil spill. Response in pictures. Response in video. Response in maps. It seems BP did learn something from it corporate giant friend Toyota. Response it key. Did BP executives read the USA Today/Gallop Poll that said a majority of Americans though Toyota failed to respond quickly enough to its own PR disaster?

Does anyone else feel duped by BPs ads? The “Beyond Petroleum” campaign was launched by Ogilvy & Mather almost 10 years ago. From the Ogilvy PR press release “The newly re-branded, global BP sought to position itself as transcending the oil sector, remaining innovative, progressive and environmentally responsible.” They wanted the world to know intended to go beyond petroleum. That PR battle was a success earning two 2001 PRWeek Campaign of the Year awards. But BP may end up losing the war.

BP can say the word response all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that they weren’t ready for this. After almost two weeks the governor of Louisiana is still waiting for a contingency plan from BP. While the government is waiting for environmental plans BP was out with its own economic plan offering $5,000 settlements to residents if they waived their rights to sue for any damages.

Did BPs advertising work too well? Would they be better off in the this crisis if a lot of us didn’t start believing they were beyond petroleum?

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Author: Keith A. Quesenberry

Marketing Professor with Industry Experience

2 thoughts on “BP Can’t Get Beyond Petroleum.

  1. I enjoyed reading this post. You are absolutely right in the fact that BP has advertised for several years now as a “green company” without any mention of oil. Although I just glanced at BP’s Gulf of Mexico response page I don’t get the feeling that they are truly sorry for the destruction being caused in the Gulf.

  2. Major PR crisis management for BP. Anybody and everybody (including environmental organizations) are blogging, vlogging, uploading videos, and commenting on this huge catastrophe; adding to the negative publicity of BP.

    They can have anytype of successful award winning PR campaign, but this trumps it all.

    Good luck cleaning up your mess and your image BP.

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