In most of the world, the Esso brand and the Mobil
brand are the primary brand names of ExxonMobil, with the Exxon brand name in use only in the United States alongside Mobil.
An Esso station in Stabekk
, Norway (2006)
The Esso sign in 1940, used in the United States until 1966
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 Maryland
, West Virginia
, North Carolina
, South Carolina
, and the District of Columbia
. By 1941, it had also acquired the rights in Pennsylvania
, 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
(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
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.
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 1888, the Anglo American Oil Company opened its head office in London, which eventually became a part of Esso.
In August 1998, Tesco
announced a partnership with Esso, opening chains of Tesco Express
stores located within forecourts, which continues today.
In February 2000, the two companies were opening one new store a month, creating 4,000 jobs.
In Tampere, Finland (2007)
Esso Blue was the brand name of Esso's paraffin oil
(kerosene) for domestic heaters in countries such as the United Kingdom. Their television advertising song from the 1950s, through to the 1970s, was the famous "Bom, Bom, Bom, Bom, Esso Blue!"
One campaign used the well-known song tune of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
" reworded as:
"They asked me how I knew, it was Esso Blue, I of course replied, with lower grades one buys, smoke gets in your eyes. The non-smoking paraffin". The track was released as a flexi disk which was given away free in hardware stores.
In the 1930s, Esso acquired Cleveland, an independent company based in North East England. Its founder and principal shareholder, Norman Davis, had spent some of World War I with his brother Manuel in Cleveland
. Cleveland's products included a benzole
blend and an alcohol
blend called "Discol". The Esso and Cleveland names continued in use until 1973, when the Cleveland filling stations were re-branded as Esso.
Esso traded in Northern Ireland
up until the early 2000s. Their forecourts were re-branded as Maxol
and some remained private.
45 of Euro Garages' forecourts were bought from Esso in 2013, and are operated under the Esso brand. They plan to roll out partner brands such as Starbucks
, replacing the Esso branded shops.
Shop and Drive
Shop and Drive is an Esso branded convenience store operated in some stations, although many of their locations have franchised shops such as Nisa
An Esso location in Ottawa
with an On The Run convenience store and Tim Hortons
In Canada, the Esso brand is used on stations supplied by Imperial Oil, which is 69.8% owned by ExxonMobil. The stations are owned by third-party retailers such as Couche-Tard
(mostly Ontario and Quebec, with stores primarily operating under the Circle K
(mostly Alberta and British Columbia), Parkland Fuel
, Harnois Groupe pétrolier, Husky Energy
and Wilson Fuel
. Imperial Oil began to sell the majority of its company-owned stations in 2016.
Esso also provides aviation fuel services at 80 airport locations in Canada (Aviation and Avitat).
In Australia, Esso is an affiliate of ExxonMobil; it operates oil and gas production. Its retail petrol stations were acquired by Mobil Australia
Esso S.A.F. is the French subsidiary of ExxonMobil, operating several hundred filling stations and two refineries in France.
In Kyoto, Japan (2017)
Established as Esso Standard Sekiyu K.K.
in 1962, following the dissolution of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company
. It became Esso Sekiyu K.K. in 1982. After the Exxon and Mobil merger in 1999, the Japanese subsidiaries were reorganized as ExxonMobil Y.K.
in 2002, which spun off its downstream business to EMG Marketing G.K.
in 2012, and acquired as a subsidiary by TonenGeneral Sekiyu K.K. in the same year. In 2016, JX Holdings and the TonenGeneral Group merged into JXTG Holdings (now Eneos Holdings
), leading to the dissolution and absorption of EMG Marketing into a subsidiary of the new company, JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy (now Eneos
), in 2017.
In 2019, the company began to phase out the Esso and Mobil brands in Japan, replacing it with JX's Eneos EneJet banner.
Esso is ExxonMobil's primary gasoline brand worldwide except in Australia, Guam, Mexico, Nigeria, and New Zealand, where the Mobil brand is used exclusively. In Canada (since 2017), Colombia, Egypt, and formerly Malaysia (until 2013, when Petron
acquired ExxonMobil's Malaysian operations)
and Japan (until 2019), both the Esso and Mobil brands are used. In Hong Kong and Singapore, Mobil brand is applied on Esso fuel tank after Mobil service stations began to merge with Esso since 2006.
Mobil is ExxonMobil's primary retail gasoline brand in California, Florida, New York, New England, the Great Lakes and the Midwest. Exxon is the primary brand in the rest of the United States, with the highest concentration of retail outlets located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states.
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
Commercial automotive and motorcycle partnerships
Esso, along with its sister brands Exxon and Mobil, are official long-term recommended gasoline of two Volkswagen Group
marques (mainly Bentley
), all Toyota Group
marques and subsidiaries (including Toyota
, and Perodua
, shared with Petronas
), General Motors
marques and subsidiaries (including Chevrolet
(shared with Shell
, and former GM marques such as Opel
(shared with Shell along with Chevrolet) and Vauxhall
(shared with Petron
) and Honda
, shared with BP
and its subsidiary, Elf Aquitaine
) for automobiles. In addition, they are also recommended fuels for Honda motorcycles
had Esso sponsorship from 1962 until 1967 while sponsoring Indianapolis 500
winner and Formula One
world champion Jim Clark
as well as Brabham
from 1964 until 1973. From 2002 to 2009, Esso sponsored Toyota F1
, as well as Jordan
and its successor, Midland
in 2005 and 2006, after Esso became ExxonMobil's global primary fuel brand through the merger of Exxon with Mobil in 1999. Williams F1
had one season of Esso sponsorship in 2009 when Petrobras
left F1 in 2008 before they returned in 2014. The Esso brand was used in McLaren
Formula One cars along with Mobil from 2014, as well as Exxon from 2015 in United States Grand Prix
only, as they are currently ExxonMobil brands after the merger. In 2017, ExxonMobil switched to Red Bull Racing
, as well as Faenza-based sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso
for one season only.
Enco, as sister brand of Esso before both renamed as Exxon in 1973, had sponsored three Indianapolis 500 winning cars in 1965, 1967 and 1968, won by Jim Clark
, A. J. Foyt
and Bobby Unser
, powered by Ford
for 1965 and 1967 seasons, and Offenhauser
for 1968 season.
- ^ Falola, Toyin (September 30, 2005). The Politics of the Global Oil Industry: An Introduction. Westport, CT: Praeger. p. 27. ISBN 978-0275984007.
- ^ "Our History | Esso and Mobil".
- ^ a b c "The Return of Esso Gasoline?". CSP Daily News. February 16, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
- ^ McGee, Celia (August 22, 2010). "The Open Road Wasn't Quite Open to All". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2011. Although Victor Green’s initial edition only encompassed metropolitan New York, the Green Book soon expanded.... The 15,000 copies Green eventually printed each year were sold as a marketing tool not just to black-owned businesses but to the white marketplace, implying that it made good economic sense to take advantage of the growing affluence and mobility of African Americans. Esso stations, unusual in franchising to African Americans, were a popular place to pick one up.
- ^ Lett, Christine (March 11, 2008). "Total Petroleum to take over Esso's fuel business in V.I." The Virgin Islands Daily News. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 17, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- ^ "After 78 Years, Exxon Asks Court To Use 'Esso' Name Again". CSP Daily News. December 21, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- ^ "Our early days in Europe". About us. Exxon Mobil Corporation. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- ^ "Esso fuels Tesco's expansion". news.bbc.co.uk. August 21, 1998. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
- ^ "Tesco link with Esso to create 4,000 jobs". theguardian.com. February 5, 2000. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
- ^ the great blue singer — Esso Blue flexi disk recording, Juzp, archived from the original on February 21, 2013
- ^ "The Great Blue Singer " at Discogs
- ^ Menzies, James (October 6, 2015). "Husky Energy, Imperial Oil to combine truck fuel networks". Truck News. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
- ^ "Conversion of Trans Canada Husky station to give city two highway ESSOs". ebrandon.ca. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- ^ The Globe and Mail, "Imperial Oil sells Esso gas stations for $2.8-billion", March 8, 2016
- ^ "ESSO" (in French). Euronext. November 21, 2019. Societe: Company Profile. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
- ^ "TonenGeneral Group - Corporate History - JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation". www.noe.jxtg-group.co.jp.
- ^ "Gas station merger will end Esso and Mobil's long run in Japan". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
- ^ "Petron completes purchase of Exxon Mobil units in Malaysia". philstar.com. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
- ^ William Safire (February 6, 2005). "ON LANGUAGE: Metaphor Madness". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2011. The foolish fearsomeness of this act was vitiated in the 1960s by Esso, which took a smiling tiger as a symbol with the alliterative slogan Put a tiger in your tank.
- ^ https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/history-advertising-quite-few-objects-43-esso-tiger-tails/1151980
- ^ a b "Western Europe: The Tiger Goes Abroad". Time. May 28, 1965. Retrieved October 19, 2011. "Put a tiger in your tank." The star of one of the most popular advertising campaigns ever hatched on Madison Avenue, Esso's frisky, whimsical tiger with the high-octane tail has become a roaring success all over Europe.
- ^ Lynne ames (August 2, 1998). "The View From/Peekskill; Tending the Flame of a Motivator". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2011. Among his most famous successes was the slogan Put a tiger in your tank, still in use by Exxon.
- ^ David Kaplan (January 23, 2004). "Sulcer, 77, Former DDB Needham Exec, Dies". adweek. Retrieved January 20, 2014. Frederick D. "Sandy" Sulcer... He created the well-known "Put a tiger in your tank" theme line for Esso (now ExxonMobil)
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