Jiffy Lube is a famous brand name today, but when I started to work for Jim Hindman and his pioneering quick-oil-change company in 1982, it was unknown, with a handful of locations in a sprinkling of states. In my first meeting with the rough ’n tough he-man founder, Jim Hindman introduced me to his marketing team, a gang of young studs whom he had mentored as their college football coach! As a prelude to creating an ad campaign that I was convinced would make them famous, I insisted that they needed a new logo and design program. I told them they could be the McDonald’s of the ’80s, but they needed a logo and look that drove their image. They had recently produced signage for their 18 units at $25,000 a pop, so they balked plenty. Until I showed them my “action logo,” a circular “J” in the form of a directional sign, a striking curved red arrow that almost forced you to make a turn off the road into the Jiffy Lube driveway.


The Jiffy Lube team listened to my pep talk attentively, and before long I reeled his linemen in, then his backfield, and finally, and dramatically, Coach Hindman grabbed a Magic Marker and scrawled a facsimile of the logo on a large drawing pad as if he were diagramming a play, as his gladiators started to chant like a football team chomping to tear out of their locker room and take on the world. But then their legal counsel timidly raised his hand, stood up and said haltingly, and very seriously, “George...don’t you think your design...with that curved arrow...has a kind of phallic symbolism?” The room was stunned. “Well, sir,” I said, “I don’t know what your peepee is shaped like, but my peepee don’t look like that.”


The room howled, Jim Hindman became a real pal, and I went on to quarterback the Jiffy Lube team to a great business success story–the incredible saga of a tiny company that grew to over 1,600 locations, and changed the way America changed its oil.