ExxonMobil Historical Collection - Page 7
products and services, provides a concentrated resource for tracing the changing trends in the advertising industry.
The most expansive group of advertising material can be found in the planning, market research and production files of the Houston office of McCann-Erickson, Exxon's ad agency of record. Dating from the 1950s to the 1990s, these records trace Exxon and its predecessors' expansion of market share throughout the United States, the introduction of the convenience store as a retail model and Exxon's public relations response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Service stations, of course, were for decades the primary retail outlet for these
companies. The collection, which holds some of the remnants of these ubiquitous structures, including gas pumps, signs and the containers in which various products were sold, provides insight into industrial, material and popular culture. An extensive run of publications intended for service station owners and operators supply context for these objects and document the evolving guidelines for customer service and vehicle maintenance that cemented the reputation of these corporations in the public's mind.
Throughout the collection, one can see evidence of the fusion of brand and corporate identities when Socony Mobil Oil Company changed its name to Mobil Oil
Corporation in 1966, and Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) became Exxon Corporation in 1972, each dropping the last vestige of the Standard Oil name. Researchers can see the Pegasus trademark emerge as Mobil's icon of speed and power, and the transformation of Esso and Humble's mascot from an animated oil drop, to the "whimsical tiger" of its "Put a Tiger in Your Tank" campaign to the more symbolic live tiger used during the mid-70s and beyond. And some of the 20th century's most recognizable graphic design is represented in famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy's sleek Exxon logo and the work of Chermayeff & Geismar, creators of Mobil's complete identity package that
informed every graphic element from the company's familiar "red 'o' " logo to all of Mobil's print and broadcast materials.
Public Relations / Public Affairs
While the goals of marketing and public relations (PR) sometimes seem to blur, public relations is really the tool by which a corporation sells not a specific product, but the idea of the corporation itself. Both Mobil and Exxon created PR departments early on in their chronologies, later renaming them "public affairs" as their missions broadened.The records and sundry publications created by these departments, then, illustrate the myriad strategies and methods used to provide information, to promote and