Esso /ˈɛsoʊ/ is a trading name for
ExxonMobil and its related
companies. The name is a phonetic version of the initials of the pre
Oil (SO = Esso), and as such became the focus of much
litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972,
it was largely replaced in the U.S. by the
Exxon brand after it bought
Humble Oil, while
Esso remained widely used elsewhere.
In most of the world, the
Esso brand and the
Mobil brand are the
primary brand names of ExxonMobil, with the
Exxon brand name still in
use only in the United States alongside Mobil.
Esso station in Stabekk, Norway (2006)
A combination gasoline/diesel pump at an
Exxon in Zelienople,
Pennsylvania (2008); note that diesel on this pump is branded "Esso".
Esso sign in 1940, used in the United States until 1966
2 United Kingdom
2.3 Northern Ireland
2.4 Euro Garages
2.5 Shop and Drive
5 Advertising campaigns
6 Commercial automotive and motorcycle partnerships
8 External links
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). Standard Oil
Company (New Jersey) ("Jersey Standard") had the rights in that state,
plus in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and the District of Columbia. By 1941, it had also acquired
the rights in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Arkansas, Tennessee, and
Louisiana. In those states, it marketed its products under the brand
"Esso", the phonetic pronunciation of the letters "S" and "O".
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 trademark Enco ("Energy
Company"), and in a few "Humble".
The other Standard companies likewise were "Standard" or some variant
on that in their home states, and another brand name in other states.
Esso ranked 31st among United States corporations in the value of
World War II
World War II production contracts.
During the years of racial segregation in the United States, certain
Esso franchises gave out The Negro Motorist Green Book: An
International Travel Guide. In 1973, Standard
Oil of New Jersey
renamed itself as the
Exxon Corporation, and adopted that trademark
throughout the country. It maintained the rights to "Standard" and
"Esso" in the states where it held those rights, by a token effort, by
Esso Diesel" in those states at stations that sell diesel
fuel, thus preventing the trademark from being declared abandoned.
It retained the "Esso" brand in
Puerto Rico and the United States
Virgin Islands until 2008, when it sold its stations there to Total
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
Ohio today (as it does throughout much of
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 certain states. By this time, as a result of numerous
mergers and rebranding, the remaining Standard
Oil companies that
previously 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".
Esso service station in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, England (2010)
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)
In Kyoto, Japan (2017)
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,
One campaign used the well known song tune of "Smoke Gets in Your
Eyes" cleverly 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. The name comes from the fact that the founder and
principal shareholder, Norman Davis, spent some of World War I with
his brother Manuel in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland's products included a
benzole blend and an alcohol blend called "Discol". The
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
Starbucks and Spar, 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
Main article: Imperial Oil
Esso location in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada (2008)
In Canada, the
Esso brand is used on stations operated by Imperial
Oil, which is 69.8% owned by ExxonMobil.
Esso also provides aviation
fuel services at 80 airport locations in Canada (Aviation and Avitat).
Esso is an affiliate of ExxonMobil, it operates oil and
gas production. Its retail petrol stations were acquired by Mobil
Australia in 1990.
Esso Standard Oil(Japan) in 1962 with Standard Vacuum
division in Japan. It became
Oil in 1982. With the establishment
Mobil Merger with
Oil will merge with
but will be sold to TonenGeneral
Oil in 2012 EMG Marketing will be
merged with the company in January 2017.
It was merged with JX Nippon
Oil & Energy in April, and the
company became JXTG Nippon
Oil & Energy. The
Esso brand will be
maintained for the time being.
Esso is ExxonMobil's primary gasoline brand worldwide except in
Australia, Guam, Mexico (starting in about the first quarter of 2018),
Nigeria and New Zealand, where the
Mobil brand is used exclusively. In
Colombia, Egypt, Japan (until 2020) and formerly Malaysia, both the
Mobil brands are used. While
Mobil in Malaysia were
Petron in 2013,
Mobil in Japan will be rebranded
ENEOS in 2020, since the acquisition of
Mobil from JXTG
Oil & Energy in 2017.
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,
Texas and in the Mid-Atlantic and South Eastern 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. 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
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, 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 Porsche, Bentley, Toyota, Lexus,
Daihatsu, Hino, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Opel, Vauxhall, Buick, Holden,
Mercedes-Benz (until 2015, now fully switched to
Petronas in 2016) and
Perodua for automobiles and also
Honda for both automobiles and
^ ExxonMobil: History of
Esso in the UK
^ a b "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
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
^ Lett, Christine (March 11, 2008). "Total Petroleum to take over
Esso's fuel business in V.I." The Virgin Islands Daily News. Retrieved
June 11, 2010. [dead link]
^ "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.
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 [permanent dead link]
^ "The Great Blue Singer " at Discogs
^ 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.
^ 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
Esso (now ExxonMobil)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Esso.
Magnolia Petroleum Company
Mobil Producing Nigeria
Larry R. Faulkner
William W. George
James R. Houghton
Samuel J. Palmisano
Lee R. Raymond
John D. Rockefeller
Walter V. Shipley
Walter C. Teagle
Baton Rouge Refinery
Exxon Building (New York)
ExxonMobil human rights violations in Indonesia
Exxon Corp. v
Exxon Insurance Consultants International Ltd
ExxonMobil climate change controversy
Oil Pollution Act of 1990
ExxonMobil oil spill
2010 Port Arthur oil spill
2013 Mayflower oil spill
Exxon Valdez oil spill
Greenpoint oil spill
SS Atlantic Empress
On the Run
Oil and gas fields
Oil Sands Project
Kizomba deepwater project
Pembina oil field
Sable Offshore Energy Project
West Qurna Field
Mobil Showcase Network