Mostly petroleum

I've been quite hard on sustainable designers recently. In a spirit of even-handedness, I would now like to take a pot shot at an oil company's branding strategy.

BP is a green oil company. We know this because it has a green logo and also because it has now changed its name to Beyond Petroleum (geddit?).

BP's sanctimonious and, frankly, unctuous advertising which presents the company's yoghurtier-than-thou credentials have been a source of mild frustration to me for some time, so it was interesting to read this piece in the New York Times by John Kenny.

I guess, looking at it now, “beyond petroleum” is just advertising. It’s become mere marketing - perhaps it always was - instead of a genuine attempt to engage the public in the debate or a corporate rallying cry to change the paradigm. Maybe I’m naïve.

For the record, it was Kenny who devised BP's vox populi advertisments.

A few weeks ago, during an episode of Desert Island Discs, Sue Lawley grilled (lightly) BP's chief executive John, Lord no less, Browne on the company's investment in green technologies, suggesting that concentrating the branding on that alone distorted the public's view of what it is that BP actually does.

It turns out that the oil company actually makes most of its money by selling oil. Who'd have thunk it?

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