The "Ultimate Consumer" Scores a Touchdown for BP Dealers
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Holmes Report

The "Ultimate Consumer" Scores a Touchdown for BP Dealers

BP asked Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide to introduce the new BP retail brand, BP Connect, to the jobbers/dealers at the annual BPAMA Convention scheduled for Aug. ’00 in San Francisco.

Paul Holmes

The new retail offering of BP/Amoco, the newly merged international petroleum company, contained many promising innovations for the consumer.  A critical challenge facing this new powerhouse company was to ensure adoption of the new retail brand, BP Connect, at the local level by the jobbers (multiple station owners) and dealers (essentially franchisees).  These owners of Amoco stations were being asked to convert their familiar and long-standing American brand to an unfamiliar British brand with little resonance and awareness among American consumers.  The jobbers and dealers held the key to success as they could adopt or reject the new BP retail offering.  

BP asked Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide to introduce the new BP retail brand, BP Connect, to the jobbers/dealers at the annual BPAMA Convention scheduled for Aug. ’00 in San Francisco.  This submission is worthy of an award because Ogilvy elevated this event from the basement to the penthouse, transforming the introduction of BP Connect from a low-level presentation to the scale, scope and tonality of a new product introduction in the technology sector.  The jobbers association officially sponsored the event, but Ogilvy PR completely transformed the experience in content and style to generate excitement, buzz and adoption of the new BP Connect by the jobbers and dealers. 

Ogilvy packaged the event with the theme “BP Connect: Driving Your Business to the Next Level.”

It introduced “The Ultimate Consumer” concept as a test for the new BP Connect.  Who would need the innovative and expansive services of the new BP Connect more than someone who travels from coast-to-coast and is on the road 24/7 from September through January?  Ogilvy PR recommended positioning 11-time Emmy winner, Fox TV’s John Madden, as “The Ultimate Consumer” for BP Connect.  Madden’s fear of flying keeps him roadside during the NFL season, and if BP Connect could meet his needs, it could meet anyone’s.  Madden scored with the jobbers and dealers in delivering the promise of the new BP.


When the new global BP brand was launched, many of the nearly 1000 jobbers and dealers in the US were highly skeptical.  The BPAMA event focus was to convince these jobbers and dealers to move from the familiar and consumer friendly American brand, Amoco, to BP, a brand with significantly less resonance in the US.

Enhance and elevate an event that was already being planned by the BPAMA

Venue.  The venue had been secured by BPAMA organizers prior to knowing the convention would coincide with the new BP brand rollout.  A typical year would draw 250 to the convention; when jobbers found out the new brand was being introduced, the number of attendees swelled to 600. 

Coordinate production shoot with John Madden under constrictive timeframes, re-edit pre-recorded video immediately before the event


Introduce new BP retail offering in a compelling a fashion to ensure adoption by Amoco jobber and dealers  

Help convince jobber/dealer audience of the business sense at the local level for the adoption of the new BP brand

Orchestrate and stage high-impact and brand tonality at BPAMA Convention

Emphasize the new state of the art elements (e-kiosks, e-dispenser, ordering gourmet food at the pumps, environmental innovations in the area of cleaner fuel and solar heating)  


Ogilvy PR’s Marketing Practice enlisted its Events specialty to assist the BPAMA conference organizers for this assignment.  As a first step, the team conducted a site check of the original planned venue, an average-sized basement level room with limited capacity at the St. Francis Hotel.  Ogilvy PR recommended an immediate venue change.  The agency believed the introduction of the new brand demanded a venue that matched the global power of four companies merging together.  To combat jobber skepticism, the content and interest level needed to be high. The new venue, the Hotel Nikko, provided an expansive convention hall that matched the sleek new look of the BP brand in tonality.  Unlike past jobber/dealer conventions, this event called for a more sophisticated larger scale environment that would match the high tech offering exemplifying the new BP brand.  Demographics of midwestern and southern males, ages 30 to 50 were evaluated.  Careful research of BP offerings was undertaken to focus on design elements and e-offerings as well as research on history of past conferences.


  • Introduce the new BP retail brand with business-driven rationale  
  • Highlight the innovations, including technology, e-commerce, convenience and environmental breakthroughs of the new retail offering  
  • Emphasize the consumer need/interest that drove the retail innovations   
  • Strengthen BP Connect messages by enlisting a compelling and credible, non-BP figure to deliver the consumer need/rationale for new offering  
  • Introduce an element that appeals to interest of the audience demographic – largely male, 50 plus  


Ogilvy PR elevated the presentation by morphing a large hotel banquet room into a new BP Connect environment.  Teleprompters, oversized video screens and the new BP brand icon were added.  Synchronization with the audio/visual team at the hotel were coordinated to efficiently allow each presenter to speak with appropriate background sound and visuals.

Next, Ogilvy packaged the event with the theme “BP Connect: Driving Your Business to the Next Level.”

Following BP’s chief marketing officer’s unveiling of the new retail offering to the jobbers, Madden, in a surprise appearance, burst onto an enormous video screen on center stage in his larger than life fashion and was greeted with delight and a round of applause.  After congratulating BP on its new comprehensive offer, he promptly began to highlight his favorite elements of the BP Connect in, as he put it, “The Madden Way.”  Drawing diagrams and circling features, Madden brought to life the gourmet brewed coffee, the high tech pumps, the e-commerce features, the fresh food and the solar panels, among others.

Madden concluded his well-received greeting with timely advice to this group -- “And remember, never run out of gas!”  The cheering attendees then adjourned for lunch, where each found at their place an autographed book, John Madden’s Ultimate Tailgating, featuring his favorite recipes.

Additional Executional Elements

Theme speeches and presentations to “Driving Your Business to the Next Level” 

Worked with the BP imaging team to install e-commerce kiosks, full-scale models and re-imaging visuals to transform the Nikko Hotel into a fully integrated BP environment. 

Set-up a focal point outside the hotel – an oversized Median Identification Device with the new BP brand look.

Installed a 15-foot, 200 pound BP Brand helios logo on the center stage of the venue.

Secured corporate identity gifts engraved with the BPAMA logo for each participant.

Produced a video tour of the BP Connect prototype on global brand launch day.

Produced speeches and coordinated visuals and special effects.

Secured teleprompters, music, lighting, special effects and cable cars.

Contracted the San Francisco Cable Cars to transport BPAMA members each day. 


The BPAMA Convention drew 600 people, exceeding projected attendees. 

It was highly successful in terms of presenting the new BP Connect brand in the most appropriate light, and it was conducted as impactfully as a high-technology new product launch.  

The jobbers demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm for the new retail offer; the venue and tone provided the ideal setting for the launch of this innovative new brand to a skeptical audience. 

Initially slated to take place in a small function room in the St. Francis Hotel, Ogilvy PR reinvented the convention and transformed it into a proud display of BP innovation that matched the new company ideals.  

The jobbers and dealers who attended were overwhelmed with both the content of the new offering and the presentation of the BPAMA Convention.  

Global brand executive Polly Flinn of BP said, "The team was fantastic. You all went beyond in setting a compelling stage and format to introduce the new BP brand in the most compelling way imaginable. It was the best BPAMA Convention we have had.”

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