Adrian Peter Tse
Dec 14, 2015

Parker’s plan to keep luxury pens relevant in the digital era

ASIA-PACIFIC - While smartphones represent the zeitgeist, traditional ink pens have lost some of their allure. But for Parker Pen, fine writing instruments couldn’t be more relevant at a time when people find it harder then ever to collect their thoughts.

Parker's Duofold pen
Parker's Duofold pen

Armed with new consumer insights, Parker is launching a rebranding to evolve its 127-year-old brand in Asia.

Odile Garcia, senior marketing manager at Parker Asia-Pacific, believes that the consumer trend toward “authenticity and craftsmanship” is a direct result of digitisation. At the same time, this has opened an opportunity for Parker to put its foot forward.

Parker’s rebranding includes a new identity, a new logo, a new approach to marketing and redesigns of iconic products. Parker will be aiming to target consumers with aspirational qualities with the new tagline 'Better thinking'.

“Everything comes in cycles, and there’s always a balance," Garcia told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Now people are looking to reconnect with experiences that feel human—things that help them think. That’s why barber shops are making a comeback and there are more speciality coffee shops where it takes 10 minutes for someone to make the coffee. It’s because the extra time is worth it.”

Similarly, she believes that technology will never replace the physical and mental benefits of committing pen to paper. "Parker has always focused developing the best pen technology, and with a good fountain pen, the writing experience flows,” said Garcia. “It’s proven that actually writing with a pen leads to clearer thinking.”

WATCH: Campaign Asia-Pacific meets Parker to discuss its 2016 marketing plans in Asia following its rebrand

The price points of Parker pens run from US$15 to $1000, which “isn’t as expensive as luxury goods in other categories”.

“Parker is not a ‘show off brand’," Garcia said. "We want it to be accessible and we’re aiming at people with entrepreneurial qualities. That doesn’t mean you have to be rich. Parker is about people’s ideas and helping them to achieve ‘better thinking’.”

Parker’s rebrand aims to tackle clichés around fountain pens such as only using one to “sign off expensive contracts” or to show off “in your suit jacket pocket”.

An OOH execution shows a famous playwright using the Parker Sonnet to draft a script

“These are all old and traditional perceptions of higher end pens," Garcia said. "We want people to use them to craft ideas. And we are targeting women as equally as we are men. The challenge for Parker is to reinvent the category of fine writing instruments.”

Garcia said this will be done through new in-store experiences and digital activations in China, Hong Kong and Japan.  

Garcia joined Newell Rubbermaid, Parker’s parent company, in 2004. Newell Rubbermaid, a publicly listed Fortune 500 company, also owns Waterman, Rotring, Paper Mate, Liquid Paper, Sharpie and Dymo.

While each brand caters to a different market, she said Parker is the most iconic brand in the portfolio. Parker’s global creative agency is BBH, while its media agency is PHD. 

Parker pop-up store at PMQ in Hong Kong
A recent Parker media event with bloggers in Hong Kong


Campaign Asia

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