Today I saw an ad on TV that bothered me, bothered me more than commercials usually bother me. There was a teenage girl in a school hallway; she asked if anyone had a pen and three or four boys held out pens for her to borrow. She looked at the dull, standard black and blue pens and seemed disappointed. Then a new hand joined the others holding a brightly colored purple pen for her to use. “YES!” she said emphatically. Then walked arm-in-arm with the giant BIC man who handed her the pen. Welcome “BIC for her.”
What the WHAT?
I immediately thought of a Saturday Night Life fake commercial “Chess for Girls” that had pink and purple chess pieces and chess board.
Apparently, BIC’s pens “for her” have been around for a year or two but what the hell? It’s a frickin’ PEN!! Now pens must be designed for the fairer sex? Seriously?
I think the advertising group that usually handles BIC’s razor division was tossed the pen account and had no idea what to do with it. “Razors have been successfully segregated by gender type and sell ridiculously well. So why not try ‘designing’ pens for her.” I imagine them thinking.
The design features that make it different from the manly-man pens that we (women) suckers have been using for years?
The “BIC Cristal for her” pen (with the tagline “The Cristal reserved for women!” I shit you not.) Offers this fabulous feature:
-Tinted barrel (pink, purple, blue, green or orange) thiner* for a better handling for women (*the text on their website actually reads “thiner” not “thinner.” Aces.)
The regular “BIC for her” pen (tagline “A ball pen essentially for women!”–I wish I were joking) offers these fabulous features:
- Fun comfort grip
- Modern design
So, to sum up, these women’s pens come in pretty-pretty colors and the barrels are slightly smaller for a woman’s delicate, fragile hands.
Maybe they hadn’t designed pens for women in the past because they are only now realizing that we can read and write. Who knew?? Someone gave us some book learnin’ and now we can write beyond “Mrs. Blank Blankenson” when signing checks from the accounts our husbands let us have for fun money.
Oooh, maybe BIC will start designing pots and pans “for her!” Silly me, pots and pans are already our sole domain and designed with women in mind. Unless they are professional grade pots and pans; then they are bigger and heavier for world-class chefs–who are always male.
Stripper poles for her?? Oops, women’s again…I’m such a goose.
What I really want is for BIC to acknowledge the absurdity of this with a new tagline, which would appear at the end of each commercial.
My suggestions for these commercials? I thought you’d never ask.
Voiceover as the camera pans to a 1950s housewife writing a letter with her new, colorful pen.
I want to thank you for finally making a ball point pen that my hand and fingers are able to grasp for minutes at a time, unlike those bulky and spiked masculine pens that left my fingers bleeding and wrist aching. A sore wrist does not make for a happy husband…
And the colors are so cheery! I bet that Sylvia Plath would write about much perkier topics were she to wrap her hand around this slender cylinder. The pretty prose would just tumble out of her head and onto the page. ‘Get out from under that porch, dear. The pink pens are here!'”
Fade out to tagline
“‘BIC, for her?’ We know it’s dumb–we’re just trying to sell some pens, people.”
An older woman and young woman walking through a park, dappled sunlight dancing over them
Young woman to older woman “You know, sometimes I’m bored by the stale blue and black pen colors and their ungainly bulk. Mom, does your handwriting ever have that… ‘not-so-fresh’ feeling?”
Fade out to tagline: “‘BIC, for her?’ We know it’s dumb–we’re just trying to sell some pens, people.”
What really galls me is that I already buy pens that come in pretty colors because I’m a sucker for packaging. DAMN IT!! I hate myself sometimes.
Thank you BIC for making me disgusted with myself.