GLOBAL BRIEF: Bic to underline its world fame - Mairi Clark looks over the manufacturer’s plans for a global branding campaign

By MAIRI CLARK, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 18 December 1998 12:00AM

Last week, Societe Bic decided to give up its localised advertising strategy and appointed TBWA to its $45 million worldwide account. The Paris-based manufacturer of pens, razors and lighters has realised that it needs a worldwide branding campaign to bolster its performance in certain markets.

Last week, Societe Bic decided to give up its localised advertising

strategy and appointed TBWA to its $45 million worldwide account. The

Paris-based manufacturer of pens, razors and lighters has realised that

it needs a worldwide branding campaign to bolster its performance in

certain markets.



The ubiquitous Bic name is recognised and associated with several

products these days, although the company only produced pens when it

launched in 1953. Bic, created by the Frenchman, Marcel Bich, was born

at a time when pen manufacturers were popping up all over Europe

following the invention of the ball-point pen by the Hungarian, Laslo

Biro.



Bic quickly set out on its path towards world domination by opening

offices in Italy, Spain and Brazil before acquiring the Biro Swan

factory in England in 1957. It then bought the North American Waterman

Pen Company in 1958, ensuring coverage of north and central America.



The company diversified into lighters in 1974 and into razors the year

after. It now holds the number one slot in the lighter market and is the

third-most famous French brand in the world after Dior and Chanel.



Bic hasn’t been as consistent with its advertising, however. The brand

has relied on celebrity endorsements - mainly in France - and

sponsorship deals, most notably with the Prost Formula One racing team,

which will end in 2001.



Bruno Bich, the chairman and chief executive of Societe Bic, explains:

’We have never done a global branding campaign, but we have done global

launch campaigns before. It seemed that now was the best time to do

it.’



The company continues to dominate the north and central American

markets.



According to its last annual report, the region accounted for 45 per

cent of income, with Europe providing 34 per cent.



Bich adds: ’We chose TBWA because we needed an agency that had a strong

grasp of consumer products and was capable of a strategy that could be

implemented. We want to be big everywhere.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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