Whatever happened to Gas Station commercials?

While watching some TV earlier today I was struck by how nearly every commercial was for car insurance. Within 15 minutes there was a Geico ad, Liberty Mutual ad, Nationwide ad, Progressive ad and a Farmers ad. All of those within 15 minutes! and that got me to thinking…

I was a kid in the late 60’s thru the 70’s. I remember the night when they stopped airing cigarette ads. But I also remember seeing A LOT of commercials for gas stations.
There’d be ads for Gulf, Shell, Sunoco, ARCO, Esso, Exxon, etc… but I really can’t recall seeing an ad for any filling stations in years? Why is that?

Do people only go to certain stations for price only? Do none of the competitors bother with trying to beat the competition with better grades of fuel?

And getting back to my original observation, I don’t remember seeing many auto insurance ads when I was younger. Maybe an Allstate here or there, but today, they’re everywhere!

Anyone else notice this?

Whatever happened to Gas Station commercials?

Dunno, but remember when they were called “Service Stations?”

AFAIK, they’ve always been for large petroleum companies- Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, etc…

ISTR seeing some Exxon, BP and Shellcommercials lately in particular, and I think I’ve seen ones from other petroleum / chemical companies, all touting how eco-friendly they’ve become and about how they’re energy companies, not just gas/oil companies. Chevron is about the only one I can think of recently talking about the quality of their gasoline.

Hess still advertised their Hess Truck every Christmas. I don’t think they bother mentioning gas stations though.

I see ads for Shell during sports broadcasts, especially racing. Marathon runs ads during the summer, it seems - phoney rock vocals and the cars and bikes have a ribbon of light trailing them.

Why should they bother to advertise? It’s not like people are going to stop buying gas.

I see Chevron with Techron commercials all the time, and remember another gas station commercial a few years ago where the wife wanted to go to the empty gas station across the street but her stupid husband pulled into the usual gas station that had lines. I’m not sure what that one was supposed to say about their brand.

There’s nothing that differentiates one brand from another. People buy gas based on convenience and price.

Petrocan (here in Canada) advertises the merits of their winter gas blend on the radio, but all gasoline in North America has a winter blend.

Put a tiger in your tank! Ya. Right.

Did you forget about the Shell Gunk Monster? That particular link says UK but I know the commercial was in the US as well. The commercials I see tend to be either “We’re eco-friendly and love earth” or else “Our fuel will make your engine last forever and everyone else’s is made of molasses and rusty nails”.

Not specifically for a gas station, but I remember KMart’s commercial for “big-ass savings” from a few years ago.

Maybe the idea is just antiquated? (As when, I’d read, there used to be huge billboards alongside roads and on top of buildings in the 20’s or 30’s advertising canned peas or sliced bread?) There are always gas stations opening and closing where I live, I don’t seek out one over the other for a difference of a few pennies. (I do like the ones with pizzas, subs, and ice cream, though, word of mouth gets around - ‘check out Valero on rt. 57, BLT pizza on Mondays!’)

BP ran a bunch of them after the Gulf oil spill as a PR move, and they have been continuing. But, really, no one these days thinks there’s any real difference in gasoline, and people buy on price and convenience. There’s also less competition – only a few brands, and they tend stay in certain areas. Around here, for instance, you can’t find Shell or BP, and Exxon had nothing before they merged with Mobil.

Most stations here are convenience stores that sell non-branded gas.

It’s probably not worth their effort to advertise.

Back in the 60’s most gas stations would have the cheap regular grade gas (since then as now most drivers fill up wherever’s cheapest) but then they’d make all sorts of bombastic claims about their much more expensive premium gas hoping to get people to put it in their cars even if they didn’t need it. Sometime in the mid-70’s (IIRC), the FTC put the kibosh on that particular racket, making it illegal for them to try to sell the higher octane gas to drivers who’s cars didn’t need it. They could still tout the benefits of their overall additive packages versus other brands’ but not being able to do the whole bait-and-switch thing with the different grades definitely put a cramp in their advertising style.

The Service Station model has certainly changed a lot since then – I have much less choice, they aren’t competing with independents much, I’ve got discount coupons, etc.

But I wonder if TV hasn’t changed too. Ad ratios are up. Ad’s are shorter, and often just direct you to a web link. They don’t expect you to actually watch any of the advertisements. Perhaps the product mix reflects that too.

I’ll ask my friendly service station attendant about this the next time I visit. After he’s finished cleaning my windshield, checking my tire pressure, looking at my oil dip stick and checking my radiator fluid level.

You get your gas filled at Oil Can Henry’s? :confused:

“…dollar gas.”

I’m pretty sure I still see a lot of Speedway commercials, but the ads are always about the stuff inside the store, not the gas.

I think that was more to the point, what I was trying to say in the OP. How, 40 years ago there seemed to be a reason why Gulf felt it had to advertise against Sunoco, or Mobil against Exxon. But today, none of that matters anymore.

But on the other hand, 40 years ago, Auto Insurance companies barely advertised at all. Or if they did it was under an overall umbrella like Allstate advertising Home/Life/Auto. Now you can’t get through a day, either on TV, radio, billboards or the internet without seeing a Geico ad or Progressive, etc…

What else are we seeing disappearing and conversely, what do we see as an over saturation?

Probably because there aren’t any Hess stations left - almost all the Hess Stations were supposed to be converted to Speedway by now.
But as for the legendary Hess Christmas season truck Hess gas stations are gone. But you can still buy the truck.
I had a Hess truck as a kid in the 1970s - light-up tanker truck…