BP Olympic ads overcome its blackened Deepwater reputation

August 09, 2012  |  Brian Steinberg for Advertising Age  |  Comments

The Olympics have certainly turned a lot of Londoners’ pre-Games skepticism into the warm fuzzies. That frown-upside-down phenomenon is working for brands too, even those tarnished by major disasters.

BP, the widely vilified oil company whose reputation took a drubbing in 2010 for the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf Of Mexico, has seen negative perceptions of its brand reversed during the first part of the Olympics, according to a survey conducted by YouGov BrandIndex.

YouGov BrandIndex interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample, conducting more than 1.2 million interviews per year, according to the company. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 1.5 million individuals. The margin of error is plus or minus 2%.

For its survey on Olympic-advertiser perceptions, YouGov asked respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” It derived scores ranging from 100 to -100 by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

BP saw its score go from a negative 5.9 in the week prior to the Olympics to a positive 2.6 during the first week of the games. Only Visa saw its brand perception rise more during the time period, according to the research.

“We have seen the recovery with BP over the last year and a half,” said Ted Marzilli, global managing director for YouGov’s BrandIndex service. “But I think its association with the Olympics is showing benefits.”

Meantime, some Olympics advertisers are seeing a decline. General Electric, Holiday Inn and BMW have seen brand perceptions decrease by small amounts.

Samsung and Coca-Cola are enjoying the most positive receptions, according to the survey.

There’s more! To chart some of the biggest movers on YouGov’s Olympic ranking, read the full story in Advertising Age here.

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