Everybody loves a good pen. It’s that specific pen you look for on your desk every morning, because you can’t possibly be productive if you’re not jotting down boring meeting notes with your favorite pen. Ladies, it’s that pen in your purse that you pull out anytime you have to sign for something, because it’s substantially better than that ugly gel-point pen you were given that won’t even write without padding below, and you better believe that pen is never accidentally left behind. Pens, writing instruments (as they’re referred to in our industry) are still to date one of the most popular promotional products, taking up over 6% of all promotional products sales in 2019. Writing instruments fell third in line last year for overall category sales by volume (with wearables and drinkware being in first and second place), and while 6% might not seem massive, with style options starting at only ten cents in a $24.8 billion dollar a year industry, we’ll let you do the math on just how impactful that “tiny little 6%” really is.
Writing instruments consist of much more than just pens, but let’s focus on just the pens here. Pens have come a long way since the first was developed and patented on October 30, 1888 (shout out to John J. Loud for what would later become one of our favorite forms of advertising). As if you’re not given enough options to choose from these days as far as the features and functionality of a pen (stylus pens, multi-colored ink pens, pens with erasers, pens with highlighters, pens that glow in the dark, pens that light up when you write, pens with that ever-so-smooth German Documental Ink… wait… what is German Documental Ink?) … As we were saying, while you already have a plethora of styles to choose from, you can now get crazy with even more creative decorating methods than ever before to ensure your brand truly is standing out from the crowd. We want to share one of our favorite examples of just how powerful a pen really is, and how a pen was used to get one advertiser’s message across in a big way. And of course, we always aim to inspire some promo pen power ideas for your next marketing campaign with us!
A well-known pizza chain was struggling to gain traction on their $5 Pizza Nights and had done every bit of advertising they possibly could to get the word out. A pen. Said pizza chain worked with another promotional products distributor, and together they designed a pen with a full color, funky, full wrap imprint, but with a coupon printed on it. Yep, this pen was now a vessel for a coupon for a free pizza with purchase on their $5 pizza night. The kicker? You could get your free pizza any time within 30 days, which really appealed to consumers knowing they could come back and get a free pizza later, rather than the cold leftovers it would most likely turn into if it were brought home the same night.
If you’re wondering how this all worked out from a keeping track standpoint, pen power made this part of it so simple. The coupon pen had to be brought in (obviously) to redeem your freebie, and it was traded at that time with a different pen; a red pen with a big, bold, funky “REMINDER!” printed in bright white. Since this pen also had to be brought back to claim the pie, recipients kept it with them until they went back, which means the number of impressions that pen had on people is most likely a shockingly high number Plus, that basic and vague message on the pen will definitely generate curiosity with anyone who sees it, which leads to a high chance that said curiosity will lead to instant website clicks from smartphones everywhere. So. Much. Winning.
Were there flaws in this plan? Sure. But there was also a sales increase of over $500 million that year compared to the year before, which is a 20% increase if you’re the percentage type. How much did they spend on the pens that promoted this entire campaign you ask? $15,000. Don’t underestimate just how powerful a pen can be, people. Especially when you’re working with us to think outside of the box; how you can stand out by using unique decorating methods, and fun messages surrounding your brand. Which by the way, thinking outside of the box is totally our jam.
Dang… A single pen can actually be used to substantially and successfully grow your business… Who knew.
For more ideas on how we can help you amplify your image, go to brand-on.us/contact-us/ where you can also subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest on sales, product releases, industry news and more. Don’t forget to follow us on instagram using the handle @brand_on.life – all the cool kids are doing it.