BP = Branding Problem

How does British Petroleum, which branded itself BP (Better Petroleum), overcome its Bad Publicity and solve its Branding Problem?

One thing the company could do is rebrand and switch back to using the name Amoco, which the Bad Parent-company bought in 1998 and eventually absorbed.

Originally founded as Standard Oil Company in 1889 by John D. Rockefeller, Amoco was later absorbed into the American Oil Company founded in Baltimore in 1910 and incorporated in 1922 by Louis Blaustein and his son Jacob. While most oil companies were switching to leaded gasoline during the mid-to-late 1920s, American Oil chose to continue selling  its premium-grade lead-free gasoline, decades before the environmental movement of the early 1970s led to more stringent auto emission controls.

If BP (Better Punished) does reclaim Amoco, it will doubtless look to its legacy of corporate identity. Amoco’s logo was originally designed in the ’20s by Lucian Bernhard, and later transformed into the Standard logo (not designed by Bernhard).

Since BP may not be able to afford a new logo, here are some of the vintage Amoco logo applications you may be seeing at a gas station near you.

7 thoughts on “BP = Branding Problem

  1. Pingback: Hail Bernhard the Magnificent « CHARLES PERRETTI

  2. Pingback: Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers | Hail Bernhard the Magnificent

  3. felix

    what i find sadly ironic is how much attention the BP rebranding (handled deftly by Landor’s Margaret Youngblood) has received in the past by design wrtriers. They’ve practically written books on what a master stroke it was (and it was). Since then, and due to many terrible CEOS (namely Fred Smith at Fedex) one of our best and brightest (Margaret) is no longer showing the rest of us how to do (and sell) it. Paul Rand was to Enron as Margaret Youngblood was to BP.

  4. elizabeth towler menon

    I like the boisterous proclamation. I have a question though, regarding mistakes made in this column in the past. Pretty bad ones. I’m a freelance designer/editor with no work and the number of mistakes that get published on this site—Heller’s “column”—could be avoided with a simple proof-reading. Just a thought.

  5. Steven Heller Post author

    Thanks to Martin for the correction. To all reading this post, please make the substitution. Also note, Beyond Petroleum is an even more Boisterous Proclamation.