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The Esso enamel sign is one of our most popular 'petrolanina' signs. 

In 1911, Standard Oil was broken up into 34 companies, some of which were named Standard Oil and had the rights to that brand in certain states (the other companies had no territorial rights).

The name Esso is the phonetic pronunciation of the initials 'S' and 'O' in the name Standard Oil. Standard Oil Company (New Jersey; Jersey Standard) had the rights in that state, plus in MarylandWest VirginiaVirginiaNorth CarolinaSouth Carolina, and the District of Columbia. By 1941, it had also acquired the rights in PennsylvaniaDelawareArkansasTennessee, and Louisiana.

It also used the Esso brand in New York and the six New England states, where the Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony-Vacuum, later Socony Mobil) had the rights, but did not object to the New Jersey company's use of the trademark[citation needed] (the two companies did not merge until November 1999). However, in the other states, the other Standard Oil companies objected and, via a 1937, U.S. federal court injunction, forced Jersey Standard to use other brand names. In most states the company used the Enco ("Energy Company") brand name, and in a few, the Humble brand name.

The other Standard companies likewise were "Standard" or some variant on that name in their home states, and another brand name in other states. Esso ranked 31st among American corporations in the value of World War II production contracts.

During the years of racial segregation in the United States, some Esso franchises gave out The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide.

In 1973, Standard Oil of New Jersey renamed itself Exxon Corporation, and adopted the Exxon brand name throughout the country.

It maintained the trademark rights to the Standard and Esso brands in the states where it held those rights by selling Esso Diesel in those states at stations that sell diesel fuel, thus preventing the trademark from being declared abandoned.


Esso gas station in Lares, Puerto Rico, 1942

It retained the Esso brand in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands until 2008, when it sold its stations there to Total S.A.

The Enco brand name was used on locations in the Midwest until 1977, when they were sold to Cheker Oil Co. (now part of Marathon Petroleum subsidiary Speedway LLC); Exxon continues to have a presence in southern Ohio today (as it does throughout much of Appalachia in general), though Mobil is the company's primary brand in the Midwest.

In February 2016, ExxonMobil successfully asked a U.S. federal court to lift the 1930s, trademark injunction that banned it from using the Esso brand in some states. By this time, as a result of numerous mergers and rebranding, the remaining Standard Oil companies that had objected to the Esso name had been acquired by BP.

ExxonMobil cited trademark surveys in which there was no longer possible confusion with the Esso name as it was more than seven decades before. BP also had no objection to lift the ban.

ExxonMobil did not specify whether they would now open new stations in the U.S. under the Esso name; they were primarily concerned about the additional expenses of having separate marketing, letterheads, packaging, and other materials that omit Esso



In the 1960s, campaigns featuring heavy spending in different mass media channels became more prominent. Esso spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a brand awareness campaign built around the simple and alliterative theme Put a Tiger in Your Tank, which was invented by Emery Smith in 1959. Psychologist Ernest Dichter and DDB Worldwide copywriter Sandy Sulcer learned that motorists desired both power and play while driving, and chose the tiger as an easy to remember symbol to communicate those feelings.

The North American and later European campaign featured extensive television and radio and magazine ads, including photos with tiger tails supposedly emerging from car gas tanks, in England there were faux tiger tails with pink ribbons to tie round underneath the cap of the petrol tank so as to look as if there was a tiger in the tank: these were often seen on the road in the 1960s; at one time in England there was a television advertisement where a sombre man labelled as the advertising manager said that they were no longer going to have the tiger, followed a short while later with advertisements for the save the tiger campaign, promotional events featuring real tigers, billboards, and in Europe station pump hoses "wrapped in tiger stripes" as well as pop music songs.Tiger imagery can still be seen on the pumps of successor firm ExxonMobil.

source: Wikipedia. Edited & Citations removed

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