Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A lesson in brand marketing

Adam put a note on Facebook a day or so ago because he was not happy. Last week I was looking on the vessel locator site for the Valvoline and the SuperAmerica, but I couldn't find them. So I looked by their ID numbers and found that the Valvoline had been renamed the Nashville and the SuperAmerica is now the Ohio Valley. The Paul G. Blazer, built around the same time, was still sailing under its old name ... for now, I guess.

Adam was peeved because he had known these boats by their original names, and he liked the old names better. I explained that they got those names when Ashland Oil had them built in the 1980s. Valvoline and SuperAmerica were two of Ashland's leading consumer brands. But when Marathon finished its acquisition of Ashland's refining and marketing assets a few years ago, the names no longer fit. Marathon changed all the old SuperAmerica to Speedway stores a few years ago. And Ashland kept Valvoline, so there is no need for Marathon to use one of its boats to advertise a brand that might compete with some of its own brands.

So the name changes were inevitable.

Here's a photo of the SuperAmerica downbound as seen above Rising Sun, Indiana. We got this last year while riding the Hoosier State after its christening.