Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How mighty is the pen? Part 1

The May 7, 2007 Brandweek article “Pen Proving to Be Mighty For Brands, Consumers” by Constantine von Hoffman explores the rise of the pen as a packaging/delivery system. Because we are so on the go, the pen seems to be a pretty useful a vehicle as a convenience device.

Pens are highly portable. They are small, easy to use, and travel well. Clorox has recently begun marketing a bleach pen, a convenient way to wipe away the stains while you are on the go. But is this what things have come to? Are we so engaged with our lives that we can’t stop to do the laundry? What’s next, water that turns our sweat into detergent?

Is this fascination with pens as a marketing device being responsive to consumers’ wants and needs? Or is this product innovation, leading customer attitudes by analyzing their lifestyles? Is this type of product a good idea or an example of doing something just because we can?

America has become a fast food society. As marketers, we need to recognize that, and keep in mind the needs of the customer. At the same time, pandering to bad habits may not be the best way to go. I think the concept of convenience is highly responsive, but I fear some of the specific applications.

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