BHP ditching 'Billiton' in $10 million rebranding move

BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) is rolling out a $10 million rebranding campaign that will see the world’s largest mining company become simply “BHP” in an attempt to emphasise its Australian roots.

The move, announced Monday, comes on the heels of calls from shareholders including activist investor Elliott Management and Australia’s Tribeca Investment Partners to change its corporate structure and incorporate in the UK.

“In launching Think Big, we will take the opportunity to change our logo and move to a brand that Australians have known us by for generations – BHP,” the firm said.

The advertising campaign includes 30-second television ads, a three-minute online video and a new slogan, “Think Big”, to facilitate a change that according to the company has been in the making for quite a while.

“We started working on this 18 months ago. We realized we had to start by telling people what BHP Billiton is and what we do,” chief external affairs officer, Geoff Healy, said in a statement.

“In launching Think Big, we will take the opportunity to change our logo and move to a brand that Australians have known us by for generations – BHP,” Healy noted, adding the expression is already widely used colloquially around the world to refer to the company.

The rebranding, the first since BHP used the late actor Bill Hunter 30 years ago in its "Big Australian" promotion, can also be seen as an effort to gain back public trust after the damage to the firm’s image caused by the November 2015 dam burst at its Samarco joint-venture in Brazil. Such incident killed 19 people and caused widespread environmental harm.

It also coincides with chief executive Andrew Mackenzie’s visit to Spain this week, where he’ll face investors at the Bank of Merrill Lynch mining conference.

While the Melbourne-based miner is changing name and logo, it is not modifying its registered name, which will remain BHP Billiton.

Watch some of the ads below: