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May 17, 2006 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Save the 76 Ball. "ConocoPhillips is removing the iconic 76 Balls and replacing them with boring rectangular signs that aren't even orange!" Related story in the Los Angeles Times. Will you help rescue the balls from their sad fate?
posted by Lillitatiana (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Ok, that's pretty weird to be loyal about a giant corporation selling gas, but growing up in SoCal, where the ubiquitous balls were found on antenna everywhere, I do prefer the old school giant ball, but I just noticed my local 76 stations changed over to the boring square lighted sign.

But now I just realized we're talking about a gas company logo and in the grand scheme of things it's pretty much meaningless. So long 76 ball and good riddance.
posted by mathowie at 10:03 AM on May 17, 2006


As long as removing the signs gives us more bizarre photos like the last one, I could pretty much care less. Those new signs are still better than seeing "Blue Canoe" (We call it that because it's different!) everywhere.
posted by setanor at 10:05 AM on May 17, 2006


My nickname weeps.
posted by NationalKato at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2006


Swiming in the shallow end of the gene pool?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2006



posted by blue_beetle at 10:08 AM on May 17, 2006


My nickname weeps.
posted by NationalKato at 10:07 AM PST on May 17


Indeed.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:14 AM on May 17, 2006


Interestingly, savethe76ball.com is registered to one Tom Masterson; a little digging reveals him to be a middle-manager in marketing a ConocoPhillips.

Well, ok, I just made that up. But it sure seems likely....
posted by gurple at 10:16 AM on May 17, 2006


Gas is over $3 a gallon and I'm supposed to get sentimental about a goddamned sign? I think I'll just stop right now before I tell you what I really think.
posted by 2sheets at 10:24 AM on May 17, 2006


As a designer of brands and logos, I can only hope for the same outcry when the logos and brands I've designed undergo their inevitable "revitalization" somewhere down the line.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:28 AM on May 17, 2006


Hey, at least it's a reason to boycott.
posted by Lillitatiana at 10:28 AM on May 17, 2006


They should change their logo to a big barrel of oil with "$76" written on it in a bold font.
posted by JJ86 at 10:31 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I hear that Pepsi is going to stop sales of Pepsi Blue! This has to be stopped! We must maintain every worn out marketing logo and product idea indefinitely!
posted by GuyZero at 10:31 AM on May 17, 2006


This is why we will never be as cool as Kos or MoveOn. Our calls-to-action are just too weak.
posted by prostyle at 10:37 AM on May 17, 2006


Reminds me of Boston's famous Citgo sign. Citgo almost took it down in the 80's and Bostonians threw a fit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citgo#The_Boston_Citgo_sign
posted by StarForce5 at 10:40 AM on May 17, 2006


Seriously, who gives a shit what sign they use?

Oh, and JJ86 wins.
posted by pmbuko at 10:43 AM on May 17, 2006


If you don't give a shit, why are you giving a shit about those who do?
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:46 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


the $76 is to transisant... howabout a nice crome, art deco rendition of flipping the bird.
That or a bent over ass
posted by edgeways at 10:48 AM on May 17, 2006


The internally lit, rotating, 7 ½ foot diameter, 700 pound signs, originally acrylic but now made of shatterproof polycarbonate, have worked their way into the public consciousness since they first began appearing at Union 76 service stations in 1962.

and now they're fighting to preserve the signs?

gulp ... man, do i feel old ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2006


ConocoPhillips ate my balls!
posted by TedW at 10:56 AM on May 17, 2006


Worst Advertising Use of Rhyme:

It's orange and blue,
So look for that YOOnion
Sign of the finest. . .
The sign of the seventy six!


It's amazing, the crap that stays in one's brain over the years.
posted by Danf at 11:00 AM on May 17, 2006


People need to start getting those CHEW MAIL POUCH signs painted on the sides of their houses too, now that barns are less common.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:01 AM on May 17, 2006


posted by JJ86 They should change their logo to a big barrel of oil with "$76" written on it in a bold font.

Like this?



Adobe Illustrator EPS vector art, suitable for stickers, signs, t-shirts, posters! Enjoy.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:25 AM on May 17, 2006


This is a little sad. I always knew it was getting close to Halloween when the 76 signs turned into Jack-o-lanterns.


posted by the jam at 11:38 AM on May 17, 2006


Awww... the balls look so sad behind that fence.

*bump*
posted by wfrgms at 11:40 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Boston's famous Citgo sign. Citgo almost took it down in the 80's and Bostonians threw a fit.
posted by StarForce5


Yes, but the Citgo sign, like the North Star, provides valuable, often life-saving navigational assistance in the surreal maze of Boston roads.
posted by hilatron at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2006


I hear they're going to store them in some of those old rotating Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets.
posted by furtive at 11:44 AM on May 17, 2006


Interestingly, savethe76ball.com is registered to one Tom Masterson; a little digging reveals him to be a middle-manager in marketing a ConocoPhillips.

Actually, the site is registered to me, your little old neighborhood unpopular culture and signage freak. I'm not on ConocoPhillips' payroll--not hardly--but I have made a few bucks selling 76 ball antenna toppers. And gee, it's neat to make the blue. Thanks, Lillitatiana!
posted by Scram at 12:02 PM on May 17, 2006


"Uniquely Californian"?! I'll have you know I spent my teenage years stoned out of my gourd raising hell at the all night truckstop diner at a Union 76 in bumfuck western NY.
posted by quite unimportant at 12:23 PM on May 17, 2006


This was previously on MeFi Projects. That post made me wonder if the 76 ball is a design artifact, and thus worthy of some sort of preservation.

When does advertising become culturally important, anyway? Most of us here, I'd venture, are cynical about advertising; but would you deny that some ads have become, well, almost iconic?
posted by Electric Elf at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2006


If you're going to get sentimental about any corporate logo stuck on top of a pole, I suggest the Doggie Diner.
posted by mach at 1:12 PM on May 17, 2006


I guess Santa Clause would have to count...
posted by imaswinger at 3:27 PM on May 17, 2006


Hey, collecting old company logo stuff could make a great museum!

Anyone remember the old "Jack" heads that Jack In The Box used to have? They blew them up in a 1980 marketing campaign.

Maybe the 76 ball should go the same way. ;-)
posted by drstein at 6:30 PM on May 17, 2006


I know some of you think you're too cool for school, but I think this is a fight worth fighting. And I miss the old buckets, too. And they took down all the old Golden Arches signs in my town.

Man, I'm pathetic.
posted by evilcolonel at 6:48 PM on May 17, 2006


By the way,
more gas signs than you could ever care for.
posted by evilcolonel at 6:52 PM on May 17, 2006


These oil companies, they have some balls...
posted by sfts2 at 7:20 PM on May 17, 2006


There are much better things they could be doing with those ball things. Say: giant games of pool in the Nevada desert.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 PM on May 17, 2006


76 BALL

Knife in hand, the Hulking Bandit looks inside. At that
instant, The Postman rocks the pole one more time. The
rusty bolt is not enough to keep the ball's full weight in
place. It pops. The ball is frozen for an instant before
going with the pole's tilt.


LADDER

The 76 ball drops off the pole, rolling over the Hulking
Bandit's back and down the ladder's incline. The other
Bandits dive clear as the 76 ball hurtles past.


THE POSTMAN

whips head over heels as the ball speeds away.


FIELD

The 76 ball launches off a dirt berm, but soon comes to a
stop as it slams into an old utility pole and bursts
apart. Fighting the vertigo, The Postman staggers to his
feet.

http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Postman,-The.html
posted by jfrancis at 9:06 PM on May 17, 2006


There are much better things they could be doing with those ball things. Say: giant games of pool in the Nevada desert.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 PM PST on May 17


What, you've not been down I-80 past the giant "tree" with one of its ball-branches fallen and cracked? Someone, obviously, already -has- been playing games of giant pool.

As for the 76 balls, I heard about this -months- ago. Didn't care then either!
posted by po at 12:29 AM on May 18, 2006


I think there's something more at issue here than a "goddamn sign." As imaswinger alluded to, the modern image of Santa Claus was created as a Christmas advertising gimmick by Coca Cola; what started as an ad for a corporation has become iconic. Whether or not you agree with the business practices of gas companies, the 76 balls are a part of commercial design history. And whatever your opinion, they sure beat boring signs that make buying gas even more depressing.
posted by Lillitatiana at 6:59 AM on May 18, 2006


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