Well-oiled Smurfs

During the late 1970s, when oil was still “hot”, the Smurfs were called upon by BP to promote a lot of their products. Some of the material seems to have been the result of a blind tracing experiment, some of it was actually pretty good. As was the case with much of the Smurfs advertising illustrations. Various campaigns were set up all over the world, from Australia to Germany, and in some areas they still pop up once in a while, even as late as 2017 in New Zealand.

(with thanks to all those anonymous Facebook friends that I stole this from).

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One Response to Well-oiled Smurfs

  1. Martha Brygman says:

    After leaving art college in 1980 i got a job with BP Oil at their headquarters in Victoria Street, London. Although BP owned the rights to the Smurfs they didn’t use them for advertising BP Petrol etc., instead they allowed a subsidiary company that they owned called “National” to use the Smurfs on their petrol forecourts (about 2,000 in the UK). Part of my job was to regularly use pre drawn illustrations of smurfs in all sorts of advertising material. But one day i had to produce a safety poster for young canoeists. The problem was that Peyo had only drawn one canoeing Smurf. So i had to “create” several more using existing Smurfs and draw a double bladed paddle in their tiny blue hands. Peyo wanted to give the final artwork his ok. Incredibly, this was 1981, but even a huge company like BP didn’t own a Fax machine. So a reduced A4 copy of the poster was biked to an agency who owned one of these amazing new machines and they sent it via a telephone line (this blew my mind at the time) to an agency in Belguim, who then biked it to Peyo’s home. A few hours after all this madness he phoned and gave his consent to print. This is what life was like before computers and the internet. A few years later i left BP and by then, National were making more profit from the little smurf figurines, they sold at the petrol station shops, than the actual petrol in their pumps.

That's my opinion. But do leave yours:

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