BP continues to suffer from aftermath of oil spill

BP’s brand reputation took a turn for the worse yesterday after a US Congressional panel blasted the firm for ignoring dangers when drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The panel said the brand showed an “astonishing” amount of “complacency” over safety before the oil rig explosion on 20 April and accused chief executive Tony Hayward of attempting to avoid answering direct questions through “stonewalling.”

The hearing, which was marred by protestors, resulted in the oil giant being deemed “insulting” and “irresponsible”. The company was accused of “cutting corner after corner” in order to save money, and evidence was deemed insufficient t provide any proof that BP had taken its responsibilities seriously.

“We are not small people but we wish to get our lives back,” one congressmen said, playing on previous comments made by BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and Hayward.

BP expressed their “deep regret” for the spill and said it would look to provide answers as and when it could. The company ahs already suspended paying out dividends and has set aside a $20bn (£13.5bn) compensation fund for victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company says its containment device for the ruptured well is working again after a brief shutdown and a second containment system has been launched, designed to bring oil and gas to the surface.

BP’s woes in the Gulf of Mexico seem to be deepening after the US Geological Survey said the oil spill crisis could double the number of estimates previously thought.

An ad campaign for BP apologising for the oil spill polluting the Gulf of Mexico was also slammed by President Obama. The company is responsible for almost one in every seven pounds of dividends paid to British pension pots.

London 2012 chiefs are continuing to back Games partner BP despite the oil giant being the subject of international condemnation following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Greenpeace has warned London Olympic chiefs that the 2012 Games risk being “tarnished” by their partnership with BP.

Greenpeace also recently unveiled a press advertisement accusing BP CEO Tony Hayward of cutting investment in clean energy in favour of dirty sources of oil.

However, BP’s brand reputation crisis following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has left rival petroleum companies relatively unscathed, according to YouGov BrandIndex data published last month.

The BP oil crisis and its aftermath – from a brand that had tried to reposition itself as sustainable – has raised the question whether rebrands can ever really work:

  •          To read the cover story relating to this: ’Actions speak louder than logos’click here
  •          To read Mark Ritson’s response to the cover story click here.
  •          To view the Top 10 mistakes marketers make when rebranding – and how to avoid them table, click here.
  •          To read Mark Choueke’s opinion on BP’s woes, click here.
  •                  For three business viewpoints click here.



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