Not too long ago, the 8-foot tall orange Union 76 globes towering over gas stations could be found almost as easily as a Starbucks can today. But as those stations were renovated or as new ones were built, the glowing balls were taken down and newly built outlets got more conventional (i.e. cheaper) signage. After being acquired several times, the Union 76 brand ended up in ConocoPhillips' ever-growing portfolio. And that's when trouble started. Conoco's marketing department embarked on a mission to overhaul the 76 image and mandated that all surviving 76 balls be taken down. Automobilia collectors and museums alike were angered by the insistence of Conoco that the iconic signs be destroyed. Letters, pleas and petitions ensued.
But this story ends happily. While the plan to remove the orbs will go through, some of them will be donated for preservation to museums (including The Smithsonian and the Peterson Automotive Museum). And in another turn of events, the marketing team heard all those complaints and has decided to return the glowing 76 ball to as many as 100 gas stations in western states.

[Sources: The Wall Street Journal via The Car Connection and Save the 76 Ball]


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