The Times: BP doubles corporate ad budget in $150m bid for greener image: “While Shell and Chevron have been keen to promote their images in the UK, their advertising and sponsorship spend in the UK has been far less than that of BP, according to the research. This year, Shell spent an estimated £2.7 million…”: Saturday December 24, 2005
By Amanda Andrews, Media Business Correspondent
BP HAS doubled its spending on corporate advertising to $150 million (£85 million) this year as Europe’s biggest oil company fights to enhance its environmental credentials.
BP, which almost trebled its marketing budget in Britain, extended its campaign from the United States and Germany into China, the UK and international publications. It is expected to spend a similar sum next year.
However, the company’s increased spending — supported by the sharp rise in the oil price — led environmental campaigners to argue that BP was simply trying to avoid becoming a target for further tax increases.
While Shell and Chevron have been keen to promote their images in the UK, their advertising and sponsorship spend in the UK has been far less than that of BP, according to the research. This year, Shell spent an estimated £2.7 million, Chevron’s UK budget was £251,298 and Esso’s was £1.84 million.
The bulk of BP’s advertising emphasises the company’s commitment to environmental issues. Print advertisements refer to the company’s creation of a new business unit, Alternative Energy, launched last month with plans to invest $8 billion over the next decade.
Environmental groups are sceptical about BP’s motives. Craig Bennett, head of the corporate accountability campaign at Friends of the Earth, said: “Oil companies like BP and Shell know they are vulnerable in the public perception and are easy targets for the Government. They know the Government could turn to them for more tax revenue and they are aware of rising oil prices.”
David Welch, director of marketing and communications at BP, said: “Our current advertising campaign is not a tactical response to the current situation . . .”
BP spent an estimated £10.8 million on advertising and sponsorship in Britain this year, up from £3.9 million in 2004, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research obtained by The Times. The group invested £6 million of the 2005 UK advertising budget on corporate advertising. In 2004 the group spent just £173,124 on corporate advertising.
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