Thursday, October 04, 2007

Nothing Could Be Finer to Be With Petrofina



If you look very closely just behind the Mustang you can make out the logo of FINA on both of the old gas pumps. They've probably been dry since before gasoline prices hit the third digit.

The Belgian petroleum conglomerate, Petrofina, moved into the U.S. market in 1956 when it purchased Panhandle Oil Co. They gobbled up one group after another and gained significant market share. Petrofina began marketing its gasoline under the FINA brand name in 1958.

Gasoline advertising, incapable of shame, took considerable artistic license. By 1961 FINA introduced its "Pink Air" campaign. "Pink Air" was available FINA stations and when introduced into the customer's tires it would prevent them from deteriorating. FINA gasoline went more than one better. It's special additive, PFLASH, was said to improve mileage, smooth out bumpy roads and turn red lights green. We'd certainly love to have a tank full of that stuff.

It is unclear whether the FINA dealer pictured above ever used "Pink Air" to promote the product. Likely as not the dealer would have been laughed out of the county and left such strategies to his counterparts in the more gullible urban areas. "Pink Air" didn't prevent the FINA brand from deteriorating in South Carolina nor did it long extend the mileage of this little country store.

This is probably an eyesore to those who dash along this road from the midlands to the coast or the reverse. How many times has someone in a passing car said, "They ought to tear that thing down?" We like them. There seems to be a tendency in the country where land may be cheaper and space more plentiful to leave things alone after they quit working. We see all sorts of little out buildings, stores, small houses, large equipment and a good many automobiles which have been allowed to die in place. At the end of the service lives of these many things the country folks just let them be. We'd like to spray our own variety of "Pink Air" on them and thus preserve these relics we've come to treasure.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Paul said...

The Midlands is a state of mind. :-)

8:54 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Yes and the Low Country is a state of being.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Old buildings seem to have a soul. Maybe it's a conglomeration of souls from those who lived or worked in them. Glad that you recognize their beauty and intrigue.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Yes, Syd, there is strong
sense of wonder about these old places. It reminds us that stopping by this store was often as much visitation as commerce. Customers were friends and connected to the store and its keeper in ways no longer possible with mass marketing and indifferent retailers.

11:58 AM  

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