September 25, 2006

Save the '76 Ball

An icon that's a big part of my childhood memories, is being slowly dismantled. Union 76 gas stations are taking down those big orange rotating globes and replacing them with standard flat, rectangular signs. The globes on the signs aren't even that mellow orange color anymore. The last '76 station in my area was taken over about 10 years ago, so I didn't know that this was going on.

Everyone has their silly causes that probably only mean something to them. So I suppose this is mine.

My father worked for Union 76 until just a few years ago. Growing up, we had loads of '76 swag as you can imagine. We always had those orange '76 ball antenna-toppers on our cars. My dad worked a lot, but he was happy with his job. Over the years, I came to associate the spinning '76 globes with dad, and I would always feel happy when I saw their orange glow. He sometimes visited truck stops with us, and the employees knew him, so I thought the people at EVERY service station must know my dad, so I'd always smile at them. On car trips, I'd always look for the '76 signs in the cities we'd pass, and when I found them, it felt like I'd discovered a long-lost relative that we didn't know of.

Call it a silly childhood notion, but that logo MEANT something to me, and I now discover that it still does. Companies these days aren't so attached to their logos, they don't really invest anything in them. There's probably a load of good reasons that the company can quote for changing the signs and even the colors of the logo. Maybe Red is more fade-resistant in sunlight, which will save them a few thousand on repainting every few years, I don't know. But I know that the '76 logo means something to me, something more than any other brand. I buy gas from QT because they're cheap, but I have no alegience to QT. But if there was a 76 station nearby, I'd drive the extra mile and pay a few cents more a gallon to buy from them. That's the power of a Logo.

Sign the Petition at

ABC News Article

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