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A defining moment? The one year anniversary of the BP oil spill

Posted by: Jennifer Bassett on April 20, 2011

Today is the BP oil spill anniversary – not exactly a cause for celebration. The spill’s impact can still be felt on everyone it touched. And BP’s brand reputation? Let’s just say it is forever tarnished.

Not that BP hasn’t tried – it is just that efforts like full-page ads in national newspapers (adding to its many expenses) have lacked a human touch. That human touch, which has always been missing from BP’s apology efforts, is what’s necessary to reach out to consumers. Then there are the reports that BP is giving those impacted by the spill the runaround; when paired with media coverage of the fisherman who are sick from the fumes from the clean up, you’ve got even more to worry about.

All this, and the spill is still taking center stage in the courts, even as media coverage has turned its focus to the other most recent disaster.

No doubt, as a brand, BP is certainly in bad shape and is likely to be so for years to come – but what about the larger questions here? If we learned anything from the spill, it is that the oil industry, as a whole, is in need of a reform. Wasn’t the moment just as pivotal for Exxon and Shell as it was for BP? And what about Transocean and Cameron International, who are also, undoubtedly, partially to blame. While BP's recent legal action against them isn't likely to endear them more to the general public, it certainly has some warrant.

Unfortunately, while today may be a defining moment in our consciousness and BP’s reputation may be dented permanently, it is unclear if the oil industry is suffering from the same scorn that might provoke wider spread change.

What do you think?

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