Monday, June 21, 2010


Nearly 50 percent of people voting online said they are boycotting BP filling stations and another 11 percent said they are avoiding them when they can, according to a poll sponsored by

This, of course, raises a critical issue: is BP getting hurt by this boycott or is the “punishment” being misdirected?

If BP’s image is the target of these protesters, all the negative publicity about the boycott is unquestionably hurting the brand value. If the goal of the protesters is to afflict financial pain on the company, based on my research, it is having little or no effect.

The boycott crowd’s greatest impact is on the family businesses that own these filling stations and their employees. According to an article in The New York Times on June 11, BP owns only a handful of the 11,000 BP-branded stations … and is trying to sell them. In fact, the article notes, the gas in BP’s pumps may not, in fact, have been extracted, refined or stored by the company. And when the public buys gas elsewhere, the purchase may come from refineries or wholesalers that BP owns outright. Author Ron Lieber reports that no retailer can guarantee BP-free gasoline for sale.

What to do? I would hate to hurt a family business that had nothing to do with the spill. And now we learn that the gas in BP tanks may have nothing to do with BP. So the filling station boycott is futile.

Further, with the company’s newly declared $20 billion fund to help those whose jobs have been affected and its determination to clean up the mess, antagonism against BP’s image may impact the value of its stock and thereby the availability of funds to get the job done.

Technorati Tags: BP Global, BP plc, oil spill, Tony Hayward, Ron Lieber, offshore drilling, Gulf of Mexico, crisis, communications, public relations, Makovsky


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