Parker is a global pen brand that forms part of the Newell Rubbermaid group of companies. Parker wanted to communicate to a younger demographic, along side their traditional audience, and asked Ghost to develop a dialogue between them and young adults across the UK.
Parker awarded Ghost this pitch because of our experience of youth markets, innovative approach and understanding of Parker Jotter – an icon of industrial design.
The Jotter pen has been at the forefront of Creative Writing since its inception in 1954. So much so, that anyone over a certain age has Parker memories or story to tell; ‘I remember having one of those at school’, or ‘I had one at university. I loved that pen’.
However, almost everyone under the age of 30 didn’t know about Jotter pens or hadn’t heard of the brand Parker. Meaning, because of the digital age perhaps, a whole generation of potential customers have grown up without any connection to the Parker brand and its products.
Parker realised they needed to expand their existing demographic reach and connect to these young adults and future customers. With their Jotter Pen, Parker wanted to engage with young adults across the UK and thus communicate to the next generation of working professionals.
From the very beginning of this brand-led campaign, we wanted to directly communicate to students at universities across the UK. We wanted the campaign to be experiential and highlight Jotter pens as being a British product and a piece of great industrial design.
We first began to look at our design approach. We started to play with the union flag image and develop it so that it became integral to the campaign. The more we looked at the union flag image, the more it seemed to fit in with our ideas of Britishness, fun and the more it lead our design style.
Because we wanted the campaign to be experiential, we needed something more than just a tent with the Parker logo on it. Very quickly we came up with the idea of using a vintage London double decker bus. Since the new range of Jotter pens were the ‘London Architectural’ range, it seemed a great way to highlight the Britishness of the union flag image and London link, through a big red bus.
From the beginning we also wanted the students to have a hands-on experience with Parker pens and so needed to offer them incentives to engage with us and our bus.
Free pens, goody bags and percentages off, via the new Parker website, were not enough though, since we needed a way to build a data base for Parker and create future brand loyal customers as they go through university and the early stages of their careers.
With our London bus and British union flag image, we had created a visual language that worked well with the overall Parker brand and Jotter pen specifically, but we needed to attract students to the Parker bus with more than just a free pen. So, we created a competition to have students give us their Great Ideas. Ideas that could help fellow students (particularly freshers), with advice on money saving tricks, or how to revise or even how to be lucky in love.
Once the campaign began we had a full media plan with digital and traditional advertising in each university via their own websites and social platforms. We wanted to create a teaser campaign for Parker ‘coming to their university, so posters and screen images were used to highlight the day we were coming to their university.
Upon our arrival there was much anticipation and even as we set up students were curious as to why we were there. Once we had set up we began to engage with the students at each university. A big red bus on campus really attracted them to us and our brand ambassadors would speak to them to say why Parker were here. They would also hand over a fun scratch card which they would scratch (why wouldn’t you) an win something; guaranteed! If they won a free pen, they would go to the bus to collect it. Greeted on the bus and while handing them their shinny new pen, they would be asked if they would like to enter a competition and win £500 today! We would then explain the Great Idea part of the campaign and they would take the competition card to fill-in during the day.
At the end of each day we would choose a winner of the competition and through Parker’s website and social platforms inform that university of the Greatest Idea of the day from each university.
The success of this campaign was immense and with Parker we are already planning next years calendar of events. As part of the original brief, we also are planning to expand this experiential campaign to Japan and china; we just need to get a London bus to them!
The biggest highlight for us were the faces of the students once they were given a Jotter pen.
In our discussions with the client we truly didn’t know if students today would even be that bothered about these ‘fancy’ pens. They saw pens as disposable and not something to keep and cherish; or at least this is what we anticipated.
The truth was, we found excited students who would say things like, ‘is this for me’, ‘can I keep this?’ or ‘this is beautiful, how much is it worth?’. They’d be saying this while holding the pens to their chest and it was a joy to witness.
We now feel that we have discovered many new brand loyal customers through our engagement, and gave this generation some all new Parker memories. It seems that Parker, as a brand, is still special and should be valued by all users as the pen for creative writing and great ideas.
We needed measurable results to gauge the success of the campaign, so we based it on three levels of engagement.
Stage One : Awareness of Parker, its pens and that we were at ‘your’ university.
Stage Two : Interaction with our events and using the Jotter pen.
Stage Three : Engagement by entering the competition and data capture.
With stage one we expected to reach around 90,000 students, but through the campaigns duration we actually reached over 140,000 students. This was through great online marketing and some amazing brand ambassador work on each day.
Stage two was also a great figure for the three locations we visited in 2017. We reached over 15,000 students through digital platforms, but mainly through the actual events themselves.
Stage three had in excess of 2,000 students that either entered the competition or expressed a need for further offers via the website.
The overall expectations for this very first step into the young adult market for Parker was a great success and they, and We Are Ghost, look forward to spreading the word of Parker to this new and exciting sector.