Promotional campaigns from the past

I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at a some promotions, and in particular promotional merchandise campaigns from the past, and where better to start than with Esso.

Readers of a certain age I’m sure will remember the Esso Tiger, and the slogan “put a tiger in your tank” that was used by Esso when launching an improved petrol called Esso Extra into the UK.

As part of this marketing campaign, a range of supporting promotional merchandise was also launched including key rings, colouring books, bumper stickers and textile tiger tails.

The tiger tails featured a loop that went around the petrol cap,  so it literally looked like you had a tigers tail hanging out of your petrol tank.  So popular were the tigers tails that Esso couldn’t keep up with demand, and a black market emerged selling tiger tails at 5 times the cost advertised by Esso.

All in all the whole campaign proved to be a massive success, and in the UK alone Esso sold 4 million bumper stickers, 2.5 million tiger tails and over 2 million other promotional items.

Interestingly the tiger tails idea was not born from Esso, but from a small forward thinking US textile company who approached Esso with the gimmicky suggestion, this company then had to sub contract out the work to keep up with massive demand.

The whole range of promotional merchandise was sold at cost, so whilst Esso didn’t make money directly from the range of promotional items, the increase in sales they accounted for, more than made up for it.

Using animals as part of your logo or company marketing strategy really can prove to be a winner, a recent example of this is the success of the meerkats associated with the Compare the Market adverts. 

Have you got a great idea for a promotional product campaign, then contact Abalone Graphics, Staffordshire’s  leading supplier of promotional products.


About Abalone Graphics Ltd

Abalone Graphics are a manufacturer and supplier of promotional products and work wear clothing, based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. With a huge range of promotional merchandise Abalone Graphics provide a one stop solution for all promotional items including printed and embroidered clothing.
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