It’s that time of year again, where The Hess Truck is back for its 51st year. This is after Marathon Petroleum purchased all Hess stations and rebranded them as Speedway stations. With only 10 mall kiosks and a website to share their latest model with, how will the Hess Truck be received? Will the customer experience be just as enjoyable? Will their Hess Truck jingle return for yet another year? I certainly hope so.
Since 1964, The Hess Truck has focused on several key values. They’ve consistently offered a well-built toy, with various bells, whistles, lights and accessories each year. As a sign of goodwill, batteries have consistently been included with every truck since its inception. At the time, it was a significant move and fit in with their concept of goodwill. Nowadays, included batteries are a point of entry for toys.
While the Hess Truck is different each year, they’ve kept within themes of fire, rescue and safety vehicles. Early on, they were primarily tankers, and service trucks, with an occasional helicopter, space shuttle or racecar added into the mix. And with a few red-colored exceptions, all models have retained the Hess green color scheme.
And since 1988, they’ve annually created adaptations of the song “My Boyfriend’s Back.” While I’ve never received a Hess Truck for the holidays, I’m very familiar with the jingle (A majority of their past jingles can be found on their YouTube channel) and could recite it from memory if ever needed to. Most friends I asked remember Hess Trucks fondly from childhood and are familiar with the jingle as well.
While not to the same scale of prestige as last year’s 50th anniversary model, this year’s model is also selling a Silver Edition amidst the regular models, making it a bit of a lottery as to who will obtain one. For those nostalgic of past years’ models, there is a full breakdown of each model on a dedicated website.
Perusing their website, they show a clear dedication to consistent quality in their models. That consistency has definitely made an impact, as articles cite that the Hess Truck accounts for 10 percent of toy truck sales each year. (Presumably, just the US)
The biggest takeaway I’ve gotten while researching the history of Hess has been: Putting value in your customers creates long-lasting brand value.
From focusing on a goodwill item to offer customers, to moving their release date from Thanksgiving to early November to discourage holiday shopping on a holiday (a very contrary action to today’s “Gray Thursday/Black Friday” retail mindset), to creating a very memorable audio brand through their jingle, Hess has held up their tradition of giving value to their customers.
What other brands out there have focused on the customer experience, and customer value?