Given cinematic credence as the company headed by the villainous Lord Business in The LEGO Movie, the Octan red and green oval has been a mainstay in LEGO sets for decades. The company’s portfolio was expanded dramatically for the film, in the brick built world of LEGO products Octan is exclusively an oil company, with its brand spattered across all things automotive including petrol stations and race cars.
Yet going back to the 1980s, it is a very different picture. Real world brands such as Shell and Exxon lent their trademarks to the LEGO Group and could be found in a variety of sets. So when did Octan emerge to displace the licensed brands?
The early to mid 1990s are considered by many to be a golden age of LEGO Town. Ushering in that delightful era were a swath of petrol and racing related sets released in 1992. This four set group consisting of a petrol station, tanker truck and two off road racers were the first LEGO products to carry the Octan branding and coloring. The Gas and Wash Express, set 6397, was the flagship offering of the line and is the service station many modern sets have sought to emulate.
The branding has remained unchanged since its inception. The lettering, coloring and logo which shares some similarities with the Yin-Yang symbol has not been altered. The LEGO logo has changed more in the same time frame. Its origin in 1992 means that Octan has been around for nearly two and a half decades, and shows no signs of vanishing anytime soon.