Texana Thursday: If You Don’t Have an Oil Well, Get One!

A oil well outside Electra, Texas (Creative Commons license attribution, photo courtesy Roy Luck)

When it comes to advertising taglines, Texans have put their stamp on things.

To cite one example, a 1980s American Express television commercial featured then-Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry. Sports fans today might remember Landry for his coat, tie, and fedora, but for this ad he was dressed as an old West cowboy.

In the commercial, Landry dismounted his horse and said he was one of the best-known cowboys in Texas, but people didn’t recognize him without his hat. He walked into an old western saloon, where he touted the benefits of the American Express card, before concluding, “You never know when you’ll be surrounded by Redskins.”

On that cue, several Washington Redskins football players, dressed in their uniforms, appeared.

In another example, Houston television viewers have long been used to commercials from Gallery Furniture. In these commercials, Gallery’s owner, Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, holds cash in his hand and promises that Gallery Furniture will “Save. You. Money. Today!”

Many learned more about Mattress Mac thanks to his years of philanthropic efforts, particularly after Hurricane Harvey last year.

But perhaps the most memorable tagline involving a Texan, or a Texas company, came during the 1970s oil boom. Times were good in Texas. Many relocated here to get involved to seek their fortune in the oil industry.

One already-established oil company at the time was the Western Company in Fort Worth, owned by a man named Eddie Chiles. In addition to his business, he also owned the Texas Rangers baseball club, which in 1989 he sold to an investors group headed in part by future President George W. Bush.

Western ran a commercial designed to encourage people to get into the industry. It featured a lady wearing a white jumpsuit and a white construction helmet touting the advantages of getting into the oil business.

Her tagline was, “if you don’t have an oil well, get one! You’ll love doing business with Western!”

How successful these ads were isn’t immediately clear. But they provided some memorable taglines and entertaining commercials.