Hatred for the BP name

BP, perhaps the world’s most hated company at the moment is trying to repair the damage their name and brand has undergone over the last several weeks. The mere mention of those two initials has drawn the worst adjectives from peoples’ mouths and it is becoming more possible each day that BP will end up having to change their name completely once this oil spill has been stopped and cleaned up.

They are so hated now that even their good deeds which they committed to long before the oil spill are being received terribly by the public. This exact situation occurred recently at a Major League Baseball game in Chicago. BP is the title sponsor for a regular season series between rivals Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs. Before one of the games in this series, the trophy cup which bears the BP name was announced to the audience and the crowd began to boo as soon as they heard the name of the oil giant. I can’t recall another instance when a company was so hated that even the mention of their name as a sponsor at a sporting event was received with boos and negative gestures.

To try to fix this problem, BP has purchased some search terms on Google AdWords and Yahoo on terms related to the oil spill. They are trying to balance the negative media attention and stories about them with their own reports and information. Although this activity has been criticized as well by the media (although it has not made the news on CNN and other major outlets yet), BP is doing the right thing and every company would and should do the same if they are in the middle of a PR disaster. They have all the rights and even responsibility to their employees and shareholders to defend themselves and by buying search terms, this is the first way to do that. They also need to write more blogs and provide more accessible information on their efforts to fix the problem and help those affected.

Right now, BP is in a situation where they can do no right. Even when they do normal things that every company does and should do, when BP does it right now it is looked upon like they have ulterior motives. It is normal for people to react this way but, they really need to take a step back and think about what BP is really doing with these acts. They will see that BP committed to sponsor events long before the oil spill and they also have the responsibility to defend their employees and shareholders when untruths are being spoken and written about them.

Regardless, it appears that after BP fixes and cleans up this oil spill they may need to change their name completely. They were already trying to transition from their actual name, “British Petroleum” to “Beyond Petroleum” to steer away from being in the unpopular oil business to a more green energy producer. However, this does not change the BP initials which are more commonly known, so they may need to make a complete change at some point. It would make more sense for them to do this than spend even more money trying to fix their current name’s reputation. I guess in a year or so (maybe longer), we will see if BP does take this advice and change their name to something totally different.