Helping BP Shipping celebrate a century of achievement and service

BP Shipping is the oldest operating heritage company in the BP Group, starting life as the British Tanker Company in 1915. On 30 April 2015, it celebrated a century of achievement, service and dedication to carrying oil and gas safely for BP.


BP Shipping has ridden the waves of world events, including two world wars, the Great Depression, closures of the Suez Canal and the impact of oil nationalisations on the world economy.

The business wanted to mark an occasion of such historical importance by sharing the rich experiences of the people who have served the company over the last 100 years.

The challenge

To be a success, the event had to reflect the company’s journey to becoming a world-class business. Sparking genuine emotion to create lasting impressions was a vital part of engaging BP Shipping’s people, and inspiring future generations to drive the business forward.

With potential delegates ranging from 16 year old Cadets to 90+ year old ‘Castaways’, the team had to cater for a wide range of needs. This would include a wide range of dietary requirements, accessibility and entertainment considerations. Unearthing a venue in each location which would be a suitable canvas to be as inspiring as the occasion itself was one of the main challenges.

Our solution

BP Shipping rarely made its own weather. Instead, it rode the great waves of the past century, which at times propelled it forward to unfettered growth and success, but in its darkest hours, came close to overwhelming it. ‘Riding the Waves’ was the theme chosen to reflect this message across all collateral and experiences. 

We put on six events for existing and former employees of BP Shipping, at five different venues across four countries.

Specialist event technology

BP Shipping's retirees club, known as 'Castaways', were invited to the event with paper invitations and delegate packs. We also set up a hotline for the Castaways to resolve any issues or concerns.

We used our specialist technology to create a registration website for each event which was distributed to existing employees through email invitations and internal communications channels.

A custom approach

Each event was bespoke to the venue, with slightly different structures although the features remained consistent throughout:

  • Dinner
  • Cinema experience of history film
  • Media table showcasing the centenary app
  • Live entertainment
  • Centenary historical exhibition, including a timeline wall
  • Book launch.

We needed to be proactive and responsive to the challenges which came with each venue, including apprehension about the neighhbourhood near one of the venues which we addressed with increased security and a meticulously planned transport route.

The outcome

Testimonials have been the biggest measure of the event success. Both the event and collateral had employees raving, and BP Shipping Head of Communications said, “there will not be a more important event atBP (Group).”

The life of the event and its experiences are being extended through sharing via the BP Shipping website and social media in the UK, US and across Europe.

Smooth sailing

The logistic challenge when considering this event, was huge. Despite this, we used innovative problem solving techniques to get the collateral and other equipment to each event and absent employees with time to spare. This meant that everyone joined in the celebration which aimed to show appreciation for and inspire the people of BP Shipping.

When it comes to events, creativity in taking the customer’s vision and making it a reality is the key to success. We like it when a vision is big; we love a challenge. Combining the collateral, entertainment, operations, logistics, technology and setting of the event, we created something that will echo across BP Shipping’s history, for 100 years to come.

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