To get to the bottom of the Exxon name, I wrote a letter to ExxonMobil
asking them where the name "Exxon" came from and I received the following reply:
EXXON, a registered trademark of the Exxon Mobil Corporation is really not
a word at all, for it means absolutely nothing in any known language of the
world. The name was created by computers randomly combining letters of
the alphabet. The reason why Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) decided to
change the name of its corporation to EXXON, and to market in the United
States exclusively under the EXXON trademark is because the trademark ESSO
represents the phonetic spelling of "S - O" representing "Standard - Oil"
The Supreme Court of the U.S. determined in 1911 when it broke up the large
Standard Oil Company that each of the 34 companies making up the Standard
Oil Company could only market in certain geographic areas of the U.S. using
the name "Standard Oil". So, Standard Oil of New Jersey could only use
ESSO in 19 states in the U.S. But the company wanted to market
everywhere in the U.S.
In 1966 the company decided to change its name in a way that would be a
registerable trademark in any country of the world, but most importantly,
allow it to market petroleum products in the U.S. under one brand name.
The name EXXON was chosen by the company in 1970 and the shareholders
approved the name-change in 1972. And the name was introduced for all
service stations, etc. in late 1972 and early 1973. Of course, since
the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 1911 only applied to the United States,
there was no need to change the marketing brand name in other countries in
the world, only the United States. The decision to select the name EXXON
was a marketing choice: The average customer was able to associate the
two names in brand recognition because there are many similarities between
ESSO and EXXON: Each name is two syllables, each begins with the letter
"E" and each name contains a double consonant, "eSSo" / "eXXon". Our
company was not the only oil company that needed to change its name: The
Standard Oil of California also wanted to market all over the U.S. so that
company changed its name from Standard Oil of California (SOCAL) to the new
name "Chevron." Standard Oil of Indiana changed to "AMOCO" (American Oil
Company)(now owned by BP); Standard Oil of New York changed to Socony-Mobil
and later to MOBIL.
Thank you for contacting ExxonMobil.
Exxon Mobil Corporation