Saint John — A bold new look may be coming to an Irving gas station near you this fall. On Tuesday, the New Brunswick energy giant Irving Oil announced that their iconic blue and red signs would be changing in September, but not how you might expect. Although the new icon will bear the familiar colours that New Brunswickers are so familiar with, it will proudly sport a new, cute cat emoticon.
“We’ve all been calling the cat on the new Irving signage Ivan,” said Irving Oil spokesperson James Maretti, “and we really feel that he captures all that we believe about the brand. He’s soft and cuddly on the outside, but has a real killer predatory instinct on the inside!”
The redesign was conceived by Brands-n-stuff Inc., a Moncton based public relations firm with an extensive portfolio of Maritime clients in the energy sector — at least until they were all acquired by Irving Oil. “This design presents Irving Oil with a logo that is young and fresh, but that builds on the well-established and internationally recognized brand that we all know and love,” said John Humphreys, CEO and chairman for the firm. “It’s a brand that will stand the test of time and will really set Irving apart in their industry. After all, who doesn’t love a cute little kitten?”
An emoticon is a way for people using keyboards to visually express their deep-seated emotions in the face of the extreme limitations of language. Although the ubiquitous smiley-face may be the most common of these textual witticisms, the panoply of typed-faces can include cheeky grins, roses, winky frowns and whatever else a clever communicator can create. It is this modern, creative sentiment that Humphreys says Irving Oil wanted to capture. “The idea that such a cute little guy as Ivan could even contemplate fracking precious Crown land is just not something that anyone would think of. I mean, look at those whiskers — don’t you just want to take him home?”
The rebranding of the 769 Irving gas stations throughout Canada and the United States is expected to cost around $2.5 million, or just under 0.20 percent of Irving Oil’s annual revenue. The initiative, says Humphreys, should be finished just about in time for Halloween.
“Did I mention that we also love cuddles?” asked Maretti, clearly tickled pink with the new design.