Since its inception, the petroleum industry has tried to sway the consumer in varying ways to purchase their products as opposed to their competitors’. After all, there is little to no difference between one manufacturer’s gasoline and motor oils and another’s, and it was imperative to distinguish your products from the competition if you wanted to gain customers and stay in business.
Aside from ad campaigns on radio and in print, services such as free air, windshield cleanings, oil checks, and clean rest rooms were offered, but one other surefire way to gain brand loyalty from customers you were hoping to sell to was the free giveaway.
Motorists were often given free road maps for the state they were traveling in; Gulf being the first company to do so, sometimes vouchers for a few cents off the next purchase of gasoline were given. Sports score cards and lapel pens were given as gifts to men, and often women were presented with items such as thimbles and sewing kits emblazoned with the company logo to help fix the corporate name in their minds.
Though they weren’t drivers yet, the children of paying motorists were not forgotten either, and more often than not, companies such as Shell, Atlantic, Texaco, White Rose, and all of the Standard Oil companies (Red Crown, Chevron, Mobil) along with many now defunct, or absorbed petroleum companies that no longer exist today, had something to give away to children to garner brand loyalty.
Many of the prevalent premiums you see for children from Sinclair Petroleum Company are from the mid fifties on through today, and feature their green brontosaurus mascot, “Dino”, but Sinclair Oil hadn’t begun to use the famous dinosaur logo until the 1940’s.
From the mid 1920’s through the entire decade of the 1930’s, companies pulled out all the stops and gave away some rather elaborate premiums to children such as bags of marbles, small story booklets, board games complete with playing pieces and a spinner, or foldable paper cutouts such as the one above. Free goodies for the kiddies continued well into the seventies, but never again did you see the quality associated with the older premium giveaways.
In the mid-thirties, Sinclair Oil Company offered a series of ten animal cards free without purchase to anyone who asked for them, but of course, they were given with the hope that parents stopping to get the new animal card for their children each week would perhaps put a gallon or two of gas in the tank, or after a check, find they needed a quart of oil and would purchase it while they were there.
The Beth-O-Line gasoline claim to fame was that unlike its contemporaries, the higher octane fuel married with the tetraethyl lead additives in all of the fuels of the day, would give Sinclair’s particular brand the ability to turn the motor of a car over with more ease in cold weather, and have the power to drive a vehicle to the top of a hill without hesitation or spark knocking. (Which was a problem with some fuels, especially small dealers that dispensed discount gasoline sold from “Tank car to your car” setups)
In this particular card series, there was an owl, giraffe, lion, tiger, leopard, elephant, mountain goat (ram), zebra, camel, and polar bear (where this design came from), and the animals available in the offer were printed on the obverse of the printed card, and you were supposed to cut the white area of the card away from the animal, and fold it to be a miniature standee.
I made this thing so that if you wanted to, you can actually print, cut, and fold this to make the standee.
The obverse of these cards were printed with a poem about the animal featured, written by Folger McKinsey “The Benztown Bard”, and ended with a plug for the high-end “Hi-Test” brand of gasoline Sinclair was selling at the time, Beth-O-Line.
Therefore, in the spirit of the obverse of the card, I thought I’d try, though I am no Korr-A-Line bard……
In the land of the southern water tribe, the polar bear dog enjoys his warm soft hide, thick enough to hold off the arctic chill, snow and ice is its biggest thrill.
Like the mighty polar bear dog, Korr-A-line gasoline runs mighty strong, and as your motor roars in the frosty wind, Korr-A-Line is your furry friend.
Hate Loves You Dearly “The Korr-A-Line Bard”
Collect a complete set of Korr-A-Line animals: donkey camel, sewer pipe elephant rat, rabbiroo, hog monkey, owl cat, platypus bear, lion turtle, tigerdillo, sky bison, and polar bear dog.