Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Business | By Jorge Reeves

BHP to drop 'Billiton' in major rebranding to shore up local support

BHP to drop 'Billiton' in major rebranding to shore up local support

BHP Billiton was created in 2001 through the merger of the Australian Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP) and the Anglo-Dutch Billiton.

BHP Billiton (BHP.AU) is refocusing on its Australian heritage by dumping the Billiton name 16 years after the merger with the South African group to form the world's largest miner.

The "Think Big" campaign sees BHP Billiton change its name to just BHP, with a new logo in bold caps replacing the old one.

The mining giant will drop the "Billiton" from its marketing materials, business cards and letterheads in Australia, moving towards a "brand Australians have known us by for generations - BHP", the company's chief external affairs officer, Geoff Healy, said.

A 10 million Australian dollar (US$7.4 million) campaign rolls out in Australia starting this week, beginning with two 30-second commercials and a three-minute video for employees and social media that feature employees and highlight the company's history and the importance of the commodities it extracts.

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The move to recapture BHP's status as a household name rather than a multinational giant comes as BHP defends itself from the activist U.S. fund manager Elliott Associates, which is urging the company to abandon its dual listed structure in Australian and Britain.

The campaign was developed at various locations, including BHP birthplace, Broken Hill in New South Wales.

BHP, which has operations in 25 countries, will retain its dual listings in Australia and London.

BHP Billiton spins off some of its aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets as ASX-listed South32.

A key part of Elliott's plan is to move BHP to London, a move Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said he would not allow.

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"We're using our own people, this is not some slick campaign", Mr Healy said.

"All that will happen gradually, in due course, when it makes sense to do it", Mr Healy said.

Ted Horton's Big Red agency won a competitive tender for the rebranding exercise about 18 months ago.

"Think Big" is the first significant campaign for the miner since "the Big Australian" ads over 30 years ago, which featured the voice of actor Bill Hunter, who starred in movies including "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Muriel's Wedding".

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