ExxonMobil Historical Collection - Page 8
maintain a particular public image for the corporation, and to anticipate and respond to public concern.
News releases, as a primary means of communication, document a wealth of corporate changes spanning several decades. Speeches by a succession of corporate executives present a reliable source of corporate thought and policy. Mobil and Exxon's public affairs departments also produced countless publications for public consumption on topics as varied as corporate-government relations,
offshore drilling, the energy economy and environmental policy.
Both corporations developed innovative approaches to promote the corporate image and a point of view. Exxon had its Background Series of publications that responded immediately to hot button oil industry issues and its Feature Service, which distributed oil industry feature stories to newspapers across the country. Throughout the '70s and into the '80s, Mobil sought to inject itself into the market place of ideas by launching its groundbreaking "corporate citizen" advocacy campaign, with a series of full-page Op-Ed ads appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time and others. These Op-Eds presented the singular voice of Mobil and
challenged the notion that a corporation should remain silent on issues of political, social and fiscal policy vital to its survival for fear of alienating consumers.
Another topic ripe for research in the collection is the impact and meaning of corporate philanthropy. Both Mobil and Exxon used corporate giving as a way to show another side of the company, which may have helped quell the often harsh public criticism of the oil industry. Whether that meant providing support for art exhibitions, scholarship programs, sporting events or television broadcasts, corporate grants were a way of expanding the corporate brand by placing it in front of a wider, more diverse audience. Mobil was
particularly visible as a corporate sponsor, making the tag-line "Made possible by a grant from Mobil" nearly ubiquitous on public television, in its support of Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery! and other series.
—Matthew Darby, CA
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The ExxonMobil Historical Collection