Thursday, September 06, 2012

Sexist Branding: Learning from Bic’s Mistake

Image from
Posted by Leah Ludwig and Rose Strong

A article draws attention to a brand social media faux pas – one that we all know well and may use every day – Bic. The “Bic Cristal for Her” is a ballpoint pen that comes in pastel colors and touts an “elegant design—just for her!” Interestingly enough, these Bic pens cost 70 percent more than identical regular pens – according to Recently, Amazon’s users have taken to bashing the product or making snarky remarks about the sexist labeling of this product. Samples of these reviews can be seen within the article, on ABC News and by visiting, of course.

Shockingly, with all of this buzz, Bic has remained silent – especially within the social media sphere. More specifically, comments on the Bic Mark-It Facebook page have gone unanswered and the company has no Twitter presence. Communications experts weighed in with commentary in the article, stating that this is the exact opposite reaction of what a company should do in our social media age – as Bic is essentially allowing the public to shape and tell the story.

According to the article and our own social media thought leaders, a brand – especially one in the consumer lime light – should be ready to actively engage and respond to any sort of feedback from its customers. Bic could even join in on the conversation with clever or humorous responses to the snarky comments being made, which would at least give the brand a voice and demonstrate that it's actively listening. At this point, however, the brand has remained silent for far too long.

The bottom line is that this brand catastrophe could have been avoided. Echoing the quoted experts; by running the brand idea by focus groups and through test markets – individuals that would use their product daily – Bic would have found that putting time, money and so much more behind this targeted product could have been avoided entirely, and Bic as a brand could have kept its integrity intact.

We also dug up a few other stories (listed below) on sexist branding campaigns and products for your inquiring minds:

•    15 of the Most Sexist Marketing Campaigns from the Past
•    How sexist marketing sold America on the automatic transmission
•    Little Girl Calls Out The Sexist Marketing Ploys Geared Toward Kids
•    Dr Pepper's 'not for women' ad campaign: Sexist?

No comments: