Maybe it’s my fautly memory, but it seems the major USA oil companies just aren’t advertising on TV the way they used to. I can remember a handful of gasoline brand TV commercial in the last five years (maybe one or two promoting the “convenience stores” attached to the gas station), but not like the 60s and 70s.
The older SDers might remember how the TV coverage of the 1969 moon landings featured an awful lot of Gulf Oil commercials, and of course there’s the Esso/Exxon “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” campaign. I still sing the countless gasoline brand jingles from the that era.
Here in Oklahoma, there are occassionally ads for particular convenience stores, and although the focus is usually on the store, they’ll usually throw in some reference to the quality of their gasoline. Right now, QuikTrip is running an ad campaign for their “Hotzi” (I think that’s how its spelled) sandwiches, although I don’t remember if they mention their gasoline at all. A few years ago, Git-n-Go ran an ad campaign dedicated entirely to their gasoline, focusing on all the additives they claimed were unique to their gas. I think the ads involved a grandmother talking with her dog that was riding with her in the car…
The economics of convenience stores are fascinating, and the previous posters are right, price is probably one of the biggest determinants of a consumer’s choice. BUT, perceived quality of gas certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at, and each competitor tries to ensure that at the very least their gas isn’t perceived as of below average quality. Radio advertising in more frequently used than television, if for no other reason than because you’re likely to be in your car while listening to the radio, but you’re probably at home if you’re watching television. It doesn’t hurt that radio advertising is cheaper than television, either.
It should also be noted that the sale of gasoline, alone, isn’t all that profitable. The money comes from selling all of the crap that’s in the convenience store, especially beer and cigarettes. This is why QuikTrip ads focus on particular items unique to their store (their “Hotzi” sandwiches, for example), rather than their gasoline.
Desdinova and Severian have alerted me to the possibility that maybe there are fewer “national” brands these days, and more “locals”, so we don’t see major brands doing national TV advertising ? Anybody, anybody?
I’m still waiting for SDers from the US Advertising Industry to give opinions on this thread.
BTW:I’m in Boston, and I only find gas stations selling what I assume are still “national” brands like Mobil/Exxon, Texaco, Shell, maybe 3 or 4 others but the names don’t spring up easily. Are there still Gulf Oil stations?
But gasoline brands were so heavily advertised in the 60s and 70s! Did people “go out of their way” then to select a particular brand? The “soft-sell” TV ads have always tried to cultivate a “warm fuzzy” feeling for one brand, so you’d be more likely to pull into that station.
For younger SDers: today’s marketing equivalent is in telecommunications branding: picking one brand over another, when there’s not much of a technical or cost difference.