Brand ingratitude – Bic Pens: “How Dare You Get Us Attention!”

By on Monday, December 9, 2013

Most people will have seen the (wonderful) spoof letter, attributed to Bic head office, in response to a customer complaint that the pens they bought could only draw penises. It was cleverly done and swiftly went viral.

Bic pens. Good for nob drawing.

It was quite obviously fake – or a brand-concocted PR stunt much like, (in my opinion – it might be real), another recent ‘customer letter’ viral success, the John Lewis letter sent by a five year old apologising for breaking a bauble.

Brands are getting savvy about how a spoof can work to their advantage, and seemingly creating their own self-mocking parodies knowing full well that done well, they’ll get a lot of attention and brand exposure. (Now is not the time to discuss the merits of it, and how long this will remain ‘funny’ before it gets exhausted and tired).

Bic don’t seem to have got the memo though. When contacted recently by Digiday, it responded with a corporate line about it not being approved Bic content, and that the company was talking to the originator to have it removed from the web.

Yes. Yes that’s *definitely* what you should be doing with the free exposure and incredibly popular piece of collateral someone dreamt up. Take it offline – quick! Before another hundred thousand people share it and say “brilliant”!

There’s a time and a place for content containment – Bic need to learn that incredibly successful viral marketing is not it.


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