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 MarketingWeek.co.uk 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.

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