the six-legged dog

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The six-legged dog

Retracing Eni’s history and culture through its logo

Agip, 1960 advertisementIt all began in 1952, when the six-legged dog, the work of artist Luigi Broggini, won an advertising competition organised by Eni. The new symbol immediately provoked curiosity, and would do so even more over the years, thanks to the reluctance of the artist to recognise paternity: Broggini was an intellectual and advertising was not seen as artistic expression. In fact, the six-legged dog lacks an owner who can indicate its nature and characteristics.

The lack of an explanation about the genesis of this strange creature - part dog, part dragon - has given rise to numerous interpretations that have only heightened the myth.In a short time, the six-legged dog, the "loyal friend of the four-wheeled man" - according to a successful advertising slogan invented by Ettore Scola - became an indicator, thanks to its proliferation on the roads of the Italian peninsula, of a new type of service station, totally revolutionary for the period. Inspired by the innovative lines of American architecture, they offered motorists not only fuel but also high quality restaurant services.

Agip Supercortemaggiore filling station, 1975 This was the Fifties, the economic boom had changed and improved the country’s situation. Mass motorisation allowed Italians to move and travelling had never been easier: the dog, which identified service stations and motels, became a familiar element that visually unified the north and the south of the country. While the economic miracle was underway, Eni expanded and grew beyond national borders, from Africa to the Middle East. Geologists, engineers, drillers and technicians moved with their families to Egypt, Iran, Libya and Tunisia. The six-legged dog, that was run up the flagpole every morning on oil rigs and at oil fields, became an element of identity for men and women who had in common a passion for challenges. These were the years in which the nature and the culture of the company were formed. For its employees, Eni offered a wide range of services: from summer colonies for children to the organisation of leisure time, from a company magazine, rich in culture and ideas, to residential complexes close to the workplace. Everywhere, the dog was at home: a symbol able to generate an extraordinary level of recognition and sense of belonging.Agip advertising campaign, Supercortemaggiore petrol, 1950

Today, Eni is an all-round energy company, that has been able to integrate all of its activities, from exploration to production, from distribution to engineering and construction. And the company is present in over seventy countries, unifying the energies of 70,000 people. It is Italy’s biggest company and one of the most important in the world. The concepts of sustainability, dialogue, cooperation and culture have been with the company from the start. But, above all, Eni is a reality able to remain loyal to its history, increasingly open and projected towards the future thanks to its courage in imagining the future. The six-legged dog, which has been called upon to measure itself against a plurality of meanings significantly broader that in the past, today shows that it can maintain its continuity with the past and the company’s history of more than sixty years; a history marked by challenges and success.