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Green Fallout

The era when green marketing meant sunny logos and big environmental claims is over. Just ask BP.

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This story appears in the August 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When sweet, red crude began sticking to the marsh grass in coastal Louisiana in May, it was the end of an era for many people, including shrimpers, fishermen and a huge swath of the Gulf Coast tourism industry. But it was also, at least symbolically, the end of an era for the world.

For more than a decade, BP had flooded the media with advertisements showing solar panels, windmills and waving fields of grass without a drop of oil in sight. It changed its name, KFC-style, from British to BP to deemphasize its claim to fame: hydrocarbons. The company adopted a stylized green sun as its logo and rolled out the slogan "Beyond Petroleum."

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