Anybody who is over the age of (ahem) 50 will remember your parents talking about saving green stamps. I “vaguely” remember my mom collecting them and the books that they went into. Believe it or not they are still around! But like everything else, they are now part of the virtual world. You can get gift certificates with them at the Green Stamps Website. But in the “olden” days, you collected them in these books.
Green Stamps though, were not the only way to get stuff. Way back when, gas stations were trying to build brand loyalty and in order to stand out they offered premiums. You could get all sorts of things; knife sets, dish sets, toys, glass sets and all sorts of odd ball things … like cactus bowls.
There were mugs that were handed out by Exxon.
Knife sets by Shell. If you saved the cardboard pieces, you could turn them in and get a carving knife to go with your set! The premise being that if you went there enough times (brand loyalty) you could collect the whole set before they moved on to another promotion. These ones below have a 5-year warranty! Don’t see that much anymore!
There were pens.
And glass and pitcher sets.
This advertising booklet for Mobil shows Finlandia Glass by Anchor Hocking. Not only did it promote the gas station but the companies that made the products were well-known, too.
There was even a promotion for bar paraphernalia (a little mixed messaging there!)
I find it interesting that a lot of these promotions were geared toward women. The promotional items really began getting creative in the 1950s and lasted through the 70s and into the very early 80s. According to Automobile in American Life and Society, which was an interesting read, women really began to take off in the work force during that time. Coupled with people moving to the suburbs and the need to get to shopping centers and work, the car really became a second home to women.
They needed to get around and shuffle their kids as American children began to get into organized after school clubs. It is an interesting progression. The freeing of American women as they made it through the 60’s created a driving force of women in more ways than one!
Well, that was a quick peek back at a fun spot in history. It was also a time when self-service gas stations were not the norm and you could get your windshield washed, your oil and tire pressure checked while you sat in your car with the air conditioner or heater on (depending on the time of year). Ah, different times.
I hope you have enjoyed this walk down memory lane (for some of us – for others it may be news to you – what?! they used to pump the gas for you?!). If you get a chance, leave me a comment. If you’d like to take a look at some more early advertising treasures, stop by Vintage Eve’s shop!
Have a great week!
I like to party at Adirondack Girl @ Heart!