In the late 1950s, Esso Gasoline hired a Chicago advertising agency to come up with an ad that would boost petrol sales. Emery Smith, the agency’s copywriter, came up with the slogan “Put a Tiger in Your Tank!” This slogan, along with the image of a tiger, made Esso Gasoline an easily identifiable brand and helped set it apart from the competition.
In 1964, Esso introduced a lovable cartoon tiger to its advertising campaign and saw profits soar in return. The campaign was such a success that TIME magazine named 1964 “The Year of the Tiger.”
Yet, perhaps the greatest sign of Esso’s advertising success was its ability to sell 2,500,000 fake tiger tails to customers. These delightfully tacky tails were hung from a car’s gas cap and were often accompanied by a bumper sticker proclaiming “I’ve got a tiger in my tank!”