Probably one of the most recognizable logos is the STP insignia. Any kid who grew up in the late 60’s had a STP sticker stuck on their notebook or bicycle seat. Th e STP sticker was born out of a marketing phenomenon called “Contingency Sponsorship”. Common in all forms of automobile racing, this is a form of sponsorship whereby race teams place a sticker/decal on their vehicle from companies in exchange for awards for winning or meeting certain performance goals. These awards can be money or free equipment.
Today, racing stickers are called decals, however in the late 50’s a decal was a thin fi lm with a printed image. You would drop the decal in water and slide the image off the paper backing, being careful to eliminate bubbles from the surface it was applied to. A glue backing would dry and bond the decal to its surface.
In the early 60’s the sticker was born. The sticker was a thin sheet of vinyl with a printed logo that had a selfadhesive backing. They were much easier to apply than a water-slide decal.
As creative as times were in the 60’s, just like album covers, racing stickers evolved. They became colorful and used creative artwork. They were something that you just did not want to put on the fender of a racecar. They were free advertising that ended up on book covers, lockers and pickup truck rear windows. Back then, there was a gas station on every corner. Kids would ride up and stop the poor mechanic who was busy turning wrenches, and ask if he had any stickers. Usually the guy would stop what he was doing, wipe off his hands, go to his tool box and pull out some sort of automotive product sticker. Yes, they actually gave them out for “free.”
Today, many a man cave, tool box, or refrigerator door are adorned with classic stickers and decals. Original vintage racing stickers can be found on eBay; some going for as much as $50.00 each. Perhaps you will recognize some of these. Th e modern era contingency decals definitely lack the creativity that was put into the stickers of the past. Th e enthusiasm, however, remains. Drive by any school and you’ll see kids with automotive stickers, and other products, all over their notebooks.