• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

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As hard as it tries, BP’s rebranding efforts come up empty

There’s an expression I like to use from time to time, “You can’t polish a turd.” Not the most elegant of phrases, I know, but immensely true, nonetheless.

And so it goes with BP’s valiant efforts to rebrand itself with a slew of commercials that promote tourism in the Gulf region where it spilled oil. It is an attempt, not only to make BP look better, but forming a promise to the locals that it will promote the area’s tourism.

However, BP is not the one to take center stage on this. Surely, these are masterfully produced TV ads are coupled with great music, scenery and beautiful faces (probably worth millions and millions of dollars to produce too). The advertising company behind them truly thought long and hard about positioning BP in the perfect light. But the fact remains, BP is that “turd” that, as hard as it may try, just cannot be “polished.”

Why will BP remain a company that seems “dirty” in our minds? Because, as we all know, the Gulf is still a horrific mess and, with ads like these, it feels as though BP is taking advantage rather than helping.

Recently, the Huffington Post reported on the seemingly ever present gulf disaster caused by BP. As was stated in the article:

A year later, some things are worse in communities like Buras. The big oil cleanup operations are gone — and with them the money that locals depended on as their livelihoods were destroyed. The shrimp, crab and oyster fishing this year has been dismal. Locals say they haven’t ever seen shrimp catches so poor — and fishermen say abnormalities and deformities are found regularly. People complain about sickness in their communities and about depression and family and neighbor squabbles with the potential to turn violent.

It seems like BP is sponsoring a bit of false advertising with this recent campaign. Things are not so peachy in the Gulf as it would like you to believe. Maybe tourism is up, but the livelihood of many is still in disarray. We cannot forget that.

So perhaps, when we see these ads, we feel a bit duped by BP (as was my case), which in turn, makes me dislike it just a little bit more for seemingly taking advantage of it to polish its own image.

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