BP piggybacks on London Olympics to generate social acceptance

14 Aug 2009 admin

BP brand hypocrisy continues, with Marketing Magazine reporting on the company’s plans for the London Olympics in 2012.

Energy company BP has appointed agencies Landor and Ogilvy to handle its sponsorship of London 2012. Tony Hayward, executive director of BP, said that […] as BP is the UK’s biggest company with headquarters in London, the 2012 Olympics provides it with a unique opportunity to engage with its workforce, customers and existing partners in the arts, educational and cultural arenas.

BP pays millions for sponsorship deals such as these to generate a “social licence to operate” from its “special publics” in London. The company requires this social licence to continue its destructive operations in the Caspian, Iraq, Angola and Colombia. Sponsoring the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery or the British not an act of charity for BP, but a clear-cut corporate strategy to reduce criticism from certain London-based audiences. Hence the importance of Art not Oil.

Since Tony Hayward took over BP in 2007, he has reversed what meagre trend there was towards renewables, clashing investment into wind and solar while consolidating the company’s focus on oil. “Beyond Petroleum” is now purely a marketing tool to distract attention from the company’s reality.

[BP] is the official oil and gas partner and the third sustainability partner. As part of the estimated £50m deal, it will provide fuelling facilities for the vehicles involved in the Olympics. The company will also provide liquefied petroleum gas for catering, vehicle-washing facilities and technical support services, including a system for tracking carbon emissions produced by the events.

BP will also support the Cultural Olympiad, an arts and culture programme comprising 500 events, which is taking place during the run-up to the Olympics. The brand will be present at a range of touring exhibitions and outreach programmes.

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