After abandoning ‘Beyond Petroleum’ rebrand for almost two decades, BP has decided to give the campaign another go after two decades. We look at the history of this campaign over the years in the infographic above.

Beyond Petroleum – Round 1 …

‘Beyond petroleum’ slogan was adopted in the 2000s when BP rebranded from ‘British Petroleum’ to symbolize commitment towards cleaner energy. The brand’s goal was to prevent a further increase in emissions. BP started out right, by admitting that climate change is a problem for which they were contributing to and it set out to ensure that by 2012 the average emissions showed no net increase.

BP spent $200 million in advertising and public relations and adopted the green and yellow sunburst logo, reflecting the brand’s environmental sensitivity. The change in tagline to ‘Beyond Petroleum’ adopted the lower case letter to give an eco-friendliness sense. BP included solar energy in its portfolio as part of the rebranding efforts to demonstrate willingness to move away from oil. It also pledged to invest in alternative energy and capitalized on alternative energy partnerships like Landor, to develop cleaner solutions.

The company never lived up to the expectation. BP investments around the time of rebranding never rang true with beyond petroleum. Around similar time of rebranding, BP purchased oil companies including ARCO and Burmah Castrol lubricants. In the years that followed, BP suffered the most tragic oil spills in its history. In 2005, there was an explosion in BP’s refinery located in Texas City that killed 15 workers and left 180 injured. The following year 2006, BP oil pipeline caused one of the largest oil spills in Alaska’s history with a 250,000 gallons spill. The Mexico oil spill in 2010 marked the biggest tragedy in the petroleum industry’s history of marine oil spills. This one was about 8% – 31% larger than the previous incident caused by poor quality of pipe inspections. By 2011-2013, BP had sold off most of its solar and wind assets. Although BP maintained the sunburst green and yellow logo, it had failed to live up to the brand’s promise.

Following these oil spills tragedies and the give up on the campaign by BP, many consumers and critics no longer considered BP a leader in green tech as the brand it hoped to be perceived. The rebranding was instead met with some creative backlash with many parodies springing up.

Beyond Petroleum – Round 2 …

In August 2020, BP has announced its decision to give the campaign another go after almost 2 decades. BP seeks to restore its brand image. The primary goal of the 2000 ‘beyond petroleum’ rebrand was to simply prevent further increases on emissions. Twenty years later BP has new targets for 2030. It plans to lower gas and oil production by 40% by 2030, the current production rate is approximately 2.6 million barrels per day. BP aims to increase its investments in renewable energy by targeting 50 gigawatts of generation capacity by 2030 from 2019’s 2.5 gigawatts. By 2030, BP plans to have increased the number of BP electric vehicles charging points from the current 7,500 to 70,000. BP also pledged to undertake no more oil explosions activities in countries where it doesn’t already have some upstream operations.

Once bitten, twice shy

Many are not convinced of BPs 2030 targets for a crisis rebound. They question whether the 40% reduction in production would mean BP selling less profitable oil and gas fields to someone else achieving no carbon-saving. The plan to increase investments in renewable energy came off as repetition on a promise that wasn’t met. The promise to undertake no more oil explorations has been regarded as meaningless as BP already operates in around 70 countries worldwide.

Despite this skepticism, there are some who trust that BP has got it right this time. The targets for 2030 are scalable and defined. Only time will tell if BP’s new promises are for real or it is a repeat of the previous campaign.

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