The history of the Eni brand
AGIP was established in Rome in 1926 on the initiative of the Italian government for the research, exploitation and distribution of resources of the Italian subsoil. The acronym, acronym of "Italian General Petroli Company", began to appear on gas stations in the thirties inscribed in a circle with the colors of the Italian flag. In 1952, when the oil was discovered in Cortemaggiore (Piacenza), Enrico Mattei decided to baptize the petrol marketed by the Italian state under the name of "Supercortemaggiore" and to add a symbol to this word. Therefore, a competition promoted by the Domus magazine was launched, requesting: the creation of billboards for the "Supercortemaggiore" and "Agipgas" products, the relative two brands and the original coloring of a petrol station. The Agipgas billboard, designed by Federico Seneca, featured a cat that emitted a red flame from its tail and the slogan "the liquid gas from the Italian subsoil"; Alfredo Lalia won the competition for the Agipgas brand. The Supercortemaggiore billboard featured a black dog on a yellow, six-legged, elongated shape and a large red fi ammato from the mouth; there was also the logotype Supercortemaggiore and the slogan "the powerful Italian petrol". For this bill the prize was awarded to Giuseppe Guzzi, occasional nominee of the famous artist Luigi Broggini who considered degrading to participate in an advertising contest. For the Supercortemaggiore brand, instead, Carlo Dradi won, presenting a drawing of a probe next to a letter "S" in the black field. But despite the jury's decision, the brand did not like Enrico Mattei, who preferred the diabolical six-legged dog to be the protagonist of Broggini's winning poster.
In 1953 the AGIP became part of ENI and, since then, changed several things: a new logotype Agip was designed and, starting from 1956, the dog was matched by transforming it from a product brand to a company brand; in fact it appeared in a yellow trapeze that served as a service station banner. The references that contributed to the success of the brand were evident: futurism, mythological evocation, daily life, even the "domesticity" of the dog; but certainly his visual representation constituted the winning element. The dog was then a free sign, not strictly linked to the name of the company and used without a fixed combination. Since the first redesign commissioned by Eni, in 1972, the Unimark study confirmed its image except for the intervention aimed at a geometrization of the dog: the rounding of the eye, the shortening of the trunk and the insertion of the whole in a square frame with rounded corners. In the lettering there was a median line, clear reference to the white dividing line; this alphabet was also used for related companies, even in the changing sectors of activity, giving an unmistakable unitary image. To a second redesign, commissioned by the only "AGIP SpA" in 1988, the Chisesi studio aimed to consolidate its identity through a new rationalization. The construction was completely revised, the flush cleaned, the eye pointed out, the rib cage enhanced, the legs reproportioned in order to correct the perception that in the two previous versions attributed the first and last leg to the left side of the animal and the four more on the right side. In essence, the proposal by Chisesi aimed to strengthen the determination of the animal and to give back to it the most fantastic and least domestic identity that seemed to have in the version of Broggini.
In 2000, the privatization and listing on the stock exchange of ENI led necessarily to a change in the group's communication strategies and a further slight restyling of the brand created by Unimark. Therefore all the elements have been confirmed, with the exception of the rounded frame enclosing the dog: a square with sharp edges has been eliminated and replaced by a modern sign, in which the brand and logotìpo acquire a different value in a more harmonious coexistence . Even the dog has undergone a small change: from the first restyling of 1972 its length has decreased but has maintained the same visual impact by acquiring more aggressiveness.
To adapt the image of the brand to new market realities, in 2009 the management commissioned the Inarea agency for the restyling: the graphic intervention is aimed at getting the emblematic six-legged dog out of the yellow background, half this time with the rounded edges, together with the adoption of a new institutional font, all minuscule and cut at the bottom, which recalls the previous one for the central thread.