Christmas Is A Gas At Hess Oil

Leon Hess had an interesting approach to branding: He never advertised his gas. (Although every ad agency who worked for him hoped and prayed that he would.) Instead, those sparkling clean green and white Hess Gas Stations sold a toy truck every year at Christmas time–a high quality toy at a low price point. And it was those toy trucks that Leon advertised.

The branding message, delivered very quietly, was that Hess Oil was as clean and pure and family friendly as Christmas. Here’s the charming spot I created with art director Walt Panek to sell the Hess Firetruck…

By the way, selling this spot was an interesting experience. The multi-billionaire Mr. Hess was something of a Howard Hughes-like recluse. Even his closest advisers couldn’t get an audience with him directly. When we pitched the storyboards, they were shoved under the door to Leon’s inner sanctum and emerged a half hour later with big red circles around the the frames he liked and X’s through the frames he rejected.  And that was that.  Don’t tell me I don’t know how to deal with clients.

Published in: on May 9, 2007 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment