It seems that oil industry juggernaut BP launched a new advertising campaign for its gas stations early this month, called “Helios Power“. The goal is “to make things ‘a little better'” for customers of its BP Stations. In their own words:
The theory behind ‘gas stations, a little better’ came from the insight that consumers have very low expectations of the gas station experience. In this market a little better means a lot. Senior Vice President Global Brand Marketing & Innovation, Ann Hand explains, “A little better is something that only BP could say – it’s humble, we know it’s just a start, but it will mean a lot to our customers and staff. People see refueling as a necessary and unpleasant chore. However, BP can be cleaner and friendlier, and that’s why people will chose us rather than our competitors.”
It’s too early to tell if this is just a cute short-term marketing push or if it marks a true shift for BP gas stations. I think BP realizes it has a unique opportunity to position itself as a responsible energy provider instead just being a member of “Big Oil”, which is increasingly a rather politically charged designation.
I’ve seen a couple of neat things come out of this marketing campaign already. One, they’ll give you a nicely designed paper bag (recyclable, no doubt) instead of plastic, and two, they’re giving away free sunflower planting seed packets at their counters. A really nice tie-in with the BP sunflower logo, in my opinion.
I’ll be watching over the coming months to see if there are tangible differences at the BP Stations. There are countless things that could be changed to improve the gas station experience, many of them little. Do enough of them though, and they start to add up in a meaningful way. I’d love to see this become a Purple Cow!