The CITGO Sign: An Iconic Symbol of Boston
August 18, 2015
August 18, 2015
In the past few months spent living in the city of Boston, I have learned about its history, culture and unique traditions. From its Irish roots to its cobblestone streets, I have found myself falling in love with the city all over again. But in all my travels and adventures around the city so far, the one thing that never fails to grab my attention is the CITGO sign.
I find myself admiring the view of the big red triangle while driving over the bridge in Cambridge or enjoying a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. It always seems to be there while I’m experiencing Boston at its best.
As a young professional working in public relations, I can’t help but notice what an incredible placement this sign is for CITGO as a brand. There are countless photos of the Boston skyline featuring the CITGO sign, all revealed with a simple Google search. It has become a staple in Boston’s culture and is a symbol of civic pride. Just think, every time a baseball is hit over the left field wall at Fenway Park, the sign is seen by fans in person and on television. There is an actual job title for the person who takes care of it: Keeper of the Sign. According to CITGO, it has become so popular that attempts to remove it have sparked backlash and protests. For a brand, this is a pretty big feat.
So, what can we take away from CITGO’s success strategically placing themselves within the Boston skyline?
Think Big. The CITGO sign has become a part of Boston’s history and culture. It will forever be remembered in partnership with a geographical location. This is much bigger than the CITGO brand itself—it’s a legacy.
Find the right audience. A large CITGO sign on a city skyline overlooking a ballpark may not have the same effect in any other city in the world. The fact this sign was placed where it is, when it was makes all the difference. When you find your audience and place your brand in front of it at the right place at the right time, incredible things can happen.
When you’ve got something good, don’t let it go. Over the years CITGO received incredible amounts of criticism and pressure to remove the sign. It has been shut off, has caught on fire and has survived five hurricanes in its tumultuous past. While it is loved by many, it certainly is not loved by all. Yet through it all, CITGO has held on. It has stood its ground and kept the sign in place.
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