HOUSTON -- More than a decade after the Amoco fuel brand disappeared from the United States, it appears the timing is right for its return.
This week, BP announced plans to reintroduce the Amoco fuel brand to the United States in select markets. The 105-year-old fuel brand last appeared on U.S. street corners around 2000, after reaching more than 9,000 sites. Following its 1998 merger with Amoco, BP retired the Amoco brand and instead rolled out BP as its national fuel brand. (See a complete timeline below.) Two decades later, Amoco is back with a fresh image and the potential for a new chapter of growth.
“To me, new to BP, it was an obvious question to ask: Why not Amoco to help our BP-branded jobbers grow in the market?” said Rick Altizer, who joined Houston-based BP as senior vice president of fuel sales and marketing for North America in January after leading restaurant concepts and serving as chief brand officer for Mapco Express. He also is the former head of retail marketing for Shell Oil Co.
“It’s the right time to relaunch the brand,” he said.
As Altizer explained to CSP Daily News, while BP’s brand is strong and its customers loyal, its marketers wanted more growth opportunities for certain market situations in which the BP fuel brand—now at 6,200 locations in the United States—did not make sense.
“The marketplace is so crowded and competitive; there are lots of situations where we’d like to grow with our customers and there’d already be conflict sites across the corner, around the bend,” said Altizer. For example, say a customer has two BP-branded sites and wants to convert a third, nearby location from a competing brand and continue to grow with BP.
“This just gives us a way to penetrate those very concentrated and crowded marketplaces, in this case with BP’s Amoco,” said Altizer.
Room to grow
While Amoco would primarily be for existing BP marketers, it would not necessarily be limited to them. “We’re looking at it as a way for our existing customer base in our existing markets to grow with BP,” Altizer said. “But if there’s a new marketer or customer group, marketplace or geography, we’re also certainly open to that as well.”
Just as with its BP-branded sites, the quality and condition of a site’s real estate, fuel volumes, access and visibility would all weigh in on the decision to brand to Amoco. The locations would offer all three grades of gasoline with BP’s Invigorate additive and BP loyalty programs. BP has also updated the Amoco logo and forecourt imaging.
“We’re very excited about the refreshed torch and oval. It’s been modernized for the 21st century,” said Altizer. A new Amoco “to go” retail image is also available for marketers who do not already have their own store brand. (In 2014, BP introduced the “to go” retail image for BP-branded sites east of the Rockies.)
The first dozen Amoco-branded sites will undergo operational prototype testing during the fourth quarter in three key markets.
- In Chicago, Amoco will provide a way for BP-branded marketers to grow their businesses in a highly competitive marketplace.
- BP will rebrand some marketers’ competitive locations to Amoco in metropolitan New York, “where the Amoco heritage is strong and there is a lot of name recognition,” said Altizer.
- And the Amoco flag will rise in the Raleigh, N.C., area, where there has been strong interest from BP marketers.
While he declined to name which marketers will be involved in these first Amoco sites, Altizer said BP has already approved some locations in New York.
From there, BP will offer Amoco to its other markets.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity to give our branded marketers another way to grow with BP,” said Altizer. “We think the time is right, and it will help us be more competitive and grow our business in the U.S.”