Following on from my earlier post about BP, it’s become interesting to follow this business..what happens to a brand and indeed a business after such an appalling event?
Well the business is just fine, thank you, in fact returning to profit despite the cleanup costing around US$40bn!It’s turned a second quarter $17bn loss into a $1.84bn profit in the latest quarter. So, if the business community bears no grudges whatsoever, what about consumers. well, as the downstream customers, one would have to assume nor to they. The era of 5 minute attention spans provides an infinite source of forgiveness!
This was very possibly helped by some massive advertising support. During the crisis, BP withdrew most of its international ad campaigns and focused on advertising in the region concerned, primarily using print as an information vehicle. However, between April and 2 July this year, BP spent $93m (£60m) on advertising, more than $5m a week. It took the Congressional energy committee to extract that fact. And they weren’t impressed. Republican Kathy Castor said: “While BP’s advertising campaign ramped up, businesses and the Gulf communities struggled to deal with the costs of the disaster. While BP’s advertising campaign is being executed like clockwork, business and state claims have languished.”
In terms of damage and repair done to the brand, in September Luc Bardin, group chief sales and marketing officer at BP, said the oil giant has a “massive task” ahead to try and salvage its reputation. “The BP brand has been tarnished. In 2009, BP was ranked 83rd in the global ranking. The 2010 results show BP falling out of the top 100 for the first time. I never thought I would see the brand move so deeply.”
The families of the dead rig workers as well as the many thousands impacted by the spill will find irony in his statement “The brand belongs to the people, and a brand like BP belongs to all those who are associated with it in any way. We are going to continue to try and get it right.”
If a brand can survive this, well, it shows the power of advertising. Should we be proud?