BP ads fail to repair reputation

BP’s campaign to highlight the progress it has made in restoring the Gulf of Mexico to its pre-spill glory has so far failed to reverse the negative perception the general public has of the oil company.

Daily ads have run in the press since 9 April to raise awareness of the work done in the year since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Perception, however, has remained negative in the days since the campaign launched. The net balance of consumers that have heard positive or negative things about BP was -21.3 when the ads broke.

Its “Buzz” slumped to -30.6 by 18 April before recovering to -26.1 on 26 April, still trailing its pre-campaign score.

The mid-month slump could be proof that images of oil covered campaigners protesting at the company’s AGM on 14 April had a bigger impact on perception than the ads.

The oil company’s reputation suffered in the aftermath of the spill and the subsequent barrage of criticism from politicians and environmental groups that organised boycotts of BP petrol stations.

The company’s profit is still being hit by the cost of cleaning up the spill. The company reported today (27 April) net replacement cost profit, a standard measure used by oil companies, dropped 2% to $5.5bn in the first quarter as higher costs outweighed higher oil prices.

Buzz for rival Shell, in contrast, was 8.8 when the ads broke and increased to 11.9 by 26 April. The company has today (28 April) reported a 30% increase in first-quarter profit to $6.2bn.

Read Mark Ritson’s view on BP’s attempt to bolster its reputation here.

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