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June 17, 2021

Despite spill, BP still not as unpopular as Goldman Sachs

As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill somehow continues to worsen, it’s no wonder the guys at BP aren’t exactly the most popular right now.

After all, with images like this, this and this floating around, their slip-up in the south is as brutal as they come.

Add to that a mismanaged clean-up effort and criticisms the company is trying to skirt the restoration bill, and BP’s 2010 is a recipe for hatred.

Yet, somehow, someway, the British energy conglomerate isn’t the most hated business in the world.

No, that spot is still reserved for an old friend: Goldman Sachs. No matter how many oil-covered seagulls can no longer fly, people just love to hate Goldman Sachs.

I stumbled across this neat chart from Brandindex this week, a look at the latest popular opinions about certain troubled companies.

Based on a not-totally-rocket-science formula (Brandindex asked respondents if they’d heard anything about certain companies in the last two weeks, and whether it was bad or good) the site is able to get a decent temperature for how businesses fare in the court of public opinion.

For example, for much of 2009 and the start of 2010, Toyota performed quite well on the Brandindex chart, floating around in territory where the majority of consumers were hearing good news about the auto maker.

Then, when the runaway vehicles/massive recall crisis hit the car manufacturer, the brand’s reputation plummeted, according to Brandindex’s data, from a score of 25 to about -55 on the site’s scale.

What’s this have to do with BP and Goldman Sachs? Well, as BP’s spill keeps on spewing – and really, the energy giant would be hard-pressed to get worse PR elsewhere – the brand’s reputation has expectedly dropped, according to Brandindex.

Though what’s fascinating is that, despite the severity of the spill, BP is still  not as disliked by consumers as Goldman Sachs.

By Brandindex’s numbers, GS scores a -40 on the reputation scale, a slot not even BP (-36) can touch.

Of course, if you read Matt Taibbi’s scathing Rolling Stone feature on Goldman Sachs, it might come out that the megabank was behind this latest oil spill, anyway.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...