Can BP turn tide of negative opinion after Gulf disaster?

Gulf of Mexico tragedy has not fatally damaged oil giant’s brand, say voters.

The BP brand has not been fatally damaged by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to a slim majority of readers responding to an online poll.

However, the oil giant’s brand equity has been damaged by its handling of the environmental disaster, with 45% of voters in the poll suggesting the company will struggle to recover from the effects of the spill.

US polls show a harsher attitude to BP. According to US research firm Vision Critical, almost half of Americans hold very negative opinions of BP and describe the business as “idiots”, “arrogant” and “secretive”. YouGov research also shows the majority of consumers feel BP has handled the crisis badly.

Elsewhere, more than 170 creative artists have put their names to a letter attacking Tate Britain for accepting a sponsorship deal from BP and London Olympics chairman Lord Coe has been forced to defend the brand’s status as an official 2012 games sponsor.

BP says the cost of cleaning up the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has now reached $2.65bn (£1.76bn), rising at an average of $100,000 (£66,631) a day.

The company has suspended dividend payments and has set aside a $20bn (£13.5bn) compensation fund for victims of the oil spill, but has failed to reassure consumers about its commitment to corporate responsibility.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here