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[Tidbits] The best in branding

I’m not big on promoting merchandise for free. I’m sure it’s the
rebel in my soul. I don’t wear shirts with logos. I don’t consider
it a status symbol. I think it’s a declaration to the world that I’m
a sheep. Worse. a sheep with no imagination. Worse. a sheep with no
imagination who’s also extremely stupid. Baaah’d sheep.

Alas. for the most part it ain’t like that today. Today
everybody–but me–wears somebody’s logo. Hey. You got Yves. And me.
Polo. Ooh. How bloody exciting. How did that happen? And here’s
another question. What was and still is the most famous logo of all
time? What was and still is the most famous representational
depiction of a company? What logo brought life to a waning business
model. and gave birth to the elitist mentality of hey look. I’m
wearing the jackass-logo on my sleeve? And my perfume smells better
than your perfume. Etc… etc. etc.

Before I take another step. let me assure one an all. I have a brooch
of the most famous logo of all time. Shall I proceed?

Let us hearken back. In 1959 a slogan was created by a gent who went
by the name of Emery Smith. He was a Chicago copywriter who had been
briefed to produce a newspaper ad to boost the sales of a
certain–still to be unnamed–company. And so he created a mascot
that had its origins in Norway around the turn of the 20th century.
But it wasn’t till the end of the Second World War that our little
fellah made his historic debut. He was cute. He was amiable. And he
represented post-war optimism. Never before or since has there been a
stronger brand identification than that of our little protagonist.

Sales soared. It was 1964. He was mentioned in Time magazine as this
being the year of him. And then came the mementos. Fake body parts
abounded. People tied them to their hats. Some tied them to their gas
tank caps. The parts. a Tiger’s tail. The slogan … I’ve got a tiger
in my tank. Exxon Mobil gasoline was cooking like nobody’s business.
How many cars had bumper stickers with that slogan.

When it came to tiger tails. some 2.5 million tails were sold in the
US alone - and they’re still in demand. Drivers were convinced that
Exxon Mobil fuel–then Esso–was so powerful that it was the
equivalent of having a huge monster in their tanks.

Back then he was cute. He was adorable. He looked a little like
Tigger of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. And so the promoters kicked in.
Revlon was okay. Dior was so-so. But that tiger in your tank. ah …
that was a stripe of another color. And so a plastic Tiger Brooch
emerged on the horizon. It’s the brooch I had mentioned in paragraph
three. It was a craze. It was made by Multiple Toymakers N. Y. and
Skelley Performance Carburetion. Size: 3-3/4". Price–and I assume
that applies to today as a collector–$150.00. This is a tiger like
you ain’t never seen before.

A quick aside here folks. before you see the tiger brooch of
Exxon-Mobile fame. In 1969 Kellogg took legal action against Exxon
Mobil claiming their tiger infringed on their Tony-the-Tiger
trademark. There were no winners. There were no losers. There was a
settlement. Ah civilization and our legal system. ya gotta love 'em

Okay. Enough. It’s that time. Go. You know where. Home page. Scroll down. Left side. Tidbits. Click.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark

Benjamin, I really enjoyed your “Tidbits” and remembering Esso’s
"Tiger in the Tank" gasoline advertising campaign, as well as
recalling all the tiger tails hanging out of vehicle fuel doors as
you drove on any major highway. Your description then caused me to
remember a discussion I had during a lunch with a friend who was the
retired head of PRfor Esso/Exxon.

As we sat in a restaurant near the Exxon Bayway Refinery in New
Jersey, I asked my friend to tell me about his toughest Esso/Exxon
PR assignment. He first refreshed my memory of the Tiger in Your
Tank ad campaign then went on to tell me that an Exxon advertising
exec. designed a photo shoot using a real live but rented tiger and
set it up to take place in several locations, all of whichwere
inside the refinery.

My friend continued to let me know that after a while, the tiger’s
handler became a bit lax and the tiger then slipped away and
meandered about on its own to investigate a large area of the
refinery. Well, the tiger first surprised a large series of workers
who apparently were somewhat surprised and traumatized by the tigers
intrusion in their workplace, then, the tiger, who I imagine was
scared senseless, unfortunately wound up nipping a few workers who
were then taken to a local emergency room for treatment. My friend
said that it was totally up to him to handle the aftermath of the
incident but virtually impossible to get the insurance companies,
the ER doctors and some family members of the injured to believe
that a live tiger in the middle of a New Jersey refinery was at the
root of the problem.

In closing, my friend let me know that no-one, including the tiger
was seriously injured and the advertising photos were never used for
the campaign - and I do hope you get a small chuckle from the story
as I did.

Best Regards,
Bob A. DeMarcki