packaged goods

Paper Mate Launches 'Most Stolen Pen'


The Paper Mate division of Newell Rubbermaid is launching a global campaign for a new line of InkJoy pens as game changers in the mass-market pen category. Like rollerball-style instruments, InkJoy pens are designed to offer a butter-like writing experience compared to the cold-liverwurst experience of writing with some traditional ballpoints.

The message, though, might be thought of as a stationery (and, I suppose "stationary") version of the "How do you know that car's worth stealing? Because people are willing to go to jail to get it."

The tongue-in-cheek message for Paper Mate's InkJoy is "World's Most Stolen," and it is carried far and wide by the company's first-ever global campaign rolling out in the U.S., then Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand and, soon Canada, France and Poland. The effort, via Energy BBDO and the Zócalo Group, includes TV ads on cable channels Bravo, HGTV, Oxygen, TLC and TNT. There is also a digital buy on tap across multiple properties, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as social media and word-of-mouth. There are also in-language websites for each country.



Scott Crist, global director of marketing for Paper Mate, tells Marketing Daily that the last time the company ran TV ads was in January 2010 around the Winter Olympics in limited U.S. markets on select NBC stations. "Paper Mate has strong brand equity around the world but we’ve been a little lackluster with our advertising and promotion over the last few years," he says. "The InkJoy launch is helping communicate a new, more modern Paper Mate in step with today’s more value-minded consumer."

That's probably a good idea as global market research firm Mintel -- in its 2011 Back To School study -- said that while affluent consumers are somewhat more likely to buy premium writing products (the study was focused on school purchases, but the point applies here), price is the driver across the demographic board. "This suggests that it is not simply a lack of disposable income that compels most shoppers to buy the least expensive brand when shopping for supplies," said the firm. "Rather, it seems quite clear that many shoppers simply do not see the added value of premium [in the] supplies brands [category]."

Crist says this past back-to-school season actually saw growth in the overall writing instruments category in the U.S., in spite of the economy, which demonstrates the staying power of "old technology" in the face of digital mobile devices, tablets and the like. "The digital revolution and the paperless office have been topics of conversation for nearly 20 years. The fact is that pens continue to be relevant despite today’s influx of technology."

Value has been a predominant theme in the market for a few years now, according to Crist. "Consumers want the best price but aren’t willing to give up quality to get it. InkJoy allows consumers to 'trade up' to a pen that offers a premium writing experience but at an everyday price," he says. "So purchase decisions are not so polarized [between mass and premium]."

Women are the primary purchasers of Paper Mate products, per Crist, but while the InkJoy campaign is meant to appeal to women, "tt also offers broader appeal and is expected to halo to a male and other audience as well," he says.

In the new TV spot, a young woman strolls into an office, whose occupant is elsewhere, grabs the InkJoy pen out of a container full of pens, and starts to write. Enjoying the pen, she decides to walk out with the pen until a voice stops her. "It's a trap," says a co-worker hanging from the ceiling ensnared in a booby trap.

Crist points out that the "most stolen" creative approach was meant to go against the grain. "Feature/benefit ads are commonplace in our industry and we wanted to break the mold and create something that would capture viewers’ imaginations. The stolen pen creative helps us play in a more emotional space, which also ladders more effectively to the ultimate benefit of our product – the joy of writing," he says.

The campaign also includes a U.S. Facebook promotion launching Feb. 13 where consumers can submit photos of friends, family and co-workers suspected of pen theft. Other digital elements include a live-stream pen theft surveillance cam set up at Paper Mate headquarters.

There will also be sampling elements, with InkJoy displays at several retailers featuring InkJoy kiosks where consumers can experience the product. Crist says the company is also distributing samples to a roster of online pen enthusiasts and bloggers, "The pens are being sent in armored safes, to drive home just how coveted these pens are," he says.

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