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Exxon Mobil reviews ad accounts but it’s an advertising minnow these days, sadly

Relatively of course, it still spends $100m on its global fuels account through DDB and quite a bit more on ‘lubricants’ through McCann’s but the days when the likes of Exxon and Esso and rivals like Shell were marketed like big consumer products has long gone.

Exxon Mobil, the two companies merged in 1999, is now rather belatedly reviewing its ad and media accounts which are shared, neatly, between DDB, McCann’s and Euro RSCG and OMD, Universal McCann and MPG.

So it might just be a reshuffling of the furniture.

But Exxon Mobil is the biggest company in the world by profits and market capitalisation so there’s quite a lot to play for. McCann’s was boss agency until the two merged, its long association with Exxon supporting the Interpublic-owned agency’s colonisation of the world, with an office in invoicing distance of every Exxon oil well.

And the Esso tiger (its brand outside the US) played a big part in making McCann’s the biggest agency in the world (which it still is).

But here’s a thing; this is clearly a pre-tiger era US commercial (from 1938) but the two pump attendants flogging a ‘smile with every mile’ are clearly selling Esso, not Exxon.

Apparently the Americans changed the name in the US to Exxon from Esso in 1972. Why, we ask? Great ad though.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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