Here's a big blue and orange THANKS to Chris Vallance of the BBC, whose delightful story titled "Can we have our balls back, please?" sent 30,000 visitors to this website yesterday, and hundreds of international signers to the petition.
The consensus of the comments received yesterday: The 76 Ball is a classic beloved by all who see it, and folks don't want it to be removed. They are willing to vote at the pump if ConocoPhillips doesn't step back from this rebranding effort and stick with the best gas station signage they'll ever have.
Other reporters have become interested in this story. Yesterday I spoke with jounalists from the Daily Telegraph and the Los Angeles Business Journal. And the BBC story inspired a short blurb on the UPI newswire.
And for those of you who'd like to wear your support of the 76 Ball on your chest or bookbag, our staff artist Phil Goldwhite has created three spiffy, and affordable, designs now available in our CafePress shop. May I recommend a nice "Don't Let Them Take Our Balls" fridge magnet or a setting ball mousepad?
Everyone who visits this site has the power to help Save the 76 Ball. Sign the petition and call or email ConocoPhillips. Tell your friends. Print out the convenient "keep the ball!" cards to hand to your local 76 gas station. Together we can stop false progress and protect our beloved sphere.
Phil Goldwhite, official designer of the Save the 76 Ball campaign, has created a handy business-card-sized PDF file that 76 fans can download and print out. This card reminds station owners that the ball is a prime reason we buy our gas from them, and warns "lose the ball and you lose this customer!"
Also available: a card to give to gas stations that have lost their ball, explaining why they've lost your business.
When the needle points empty on this old car of mine
It drives itself over to the Seventy-Six sign.
So when we read that the old orange ball’s time is through
Well, my old car and I did not know what to do!
How could they replace our lov’d balls with flat red and blue pucks?
And with such scorn for our history? Why, the very thought sucks.
How could this monster from Texas cause such dismay in LA?
Oh-me-oh, Oh-my-oh, what would Vin Scully say?
But then something went bump.
It bumped from LA to Texas--where it made oil folks jump.
Kim Cooper got the ball rolling, with one little petition.
“Restore our dear spheres,” it said, or else face our sedition.
And then one signed, then two, then more came to declare:
Not the Lord, but the Board, you can petition with flare!
And so that’s how it started, from just one person’s druthers.
Saving the orange and blue ball, for all fellow ball lovers.
Although the odds were against us, and our small bag of tricks.
We have yet to strike with the spirit--the Spirit of Seventy-Six!
Let the corporate world beware, they know not what they had.
Don’t mess with our history, and don’t make Kim Cooper mad!
--Sky from Lotta Living
Why won't ConocoPhillips talk with us? On 6/15/06, we called ConocoPhillips with a win-win plan to save and preserve some select 76 Balls. We are still waiting for them to call back. Maybe they need to hear from you, too. The main number in Houston is 281-293-1000. Ask for Sylvia Hansen in External Communications and request that she call Nathan Marsak back and open a dialogue about how to work together to turn this bad publicity around and save some balls.
About our cause: ConocoPhillips is removing the iconic 76 Balls and replacing them with boring rectangular signs that aren't even orange! Our petition and boycott asks that they STOP THIS and leave the remaining 76 Balls on their poles, where they belong. Wanna help?:
2) Join the digg online community and click that you "digg" THIS POST. If we can get enough diggs, the topic will rise to the front page and get many thousands of visitors.
3) if your local 76 gas station still has its ball, tell them "if that ball goes, so does this customer!" Ask them to turn the ball on if it's not lit or rotating. And if your local 76 station has already switched to the liver-colored tombstone sign, don't buy gas there and be sure to tell the owner why. (DOWNLOAD and print these cards to make it simple.)
4) SPREAD THE WORD: through blogs, email chains, conversation, calls to your favorite talk radio show and letters to the editor.
5) visit our FORUM to report existing or missing 76 Balls in your community. Take photos and host them for free right on the Forum.
Consumers have the power to change corporate mistakes. ConocoPhillips will listen if you just speak up!