Pentel Europe
May 2005
Pentel e-Zine
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As any inventor will tell you it's not an easy job getting a brand new product idea developed and launched on to the market. Even when your idea is simple, but startling, it's still unproven. All you need is for someone to believe in you...

.and a little bit of luck!

The product first appeared in stationery stores in Japan in 1963. It was developed as a three-in-one pen concept - a combination of a fountain pen, ballpoint pen and Japanese brush. It was expected to take the market by storm - but it didn't. The R & D team at Pentel head office couldn't understand it. They knew there was a need for a marker that didn't bleed through paper and could write Japanese characters more easily than traditional felt-tipped markers, so why wasn't it selling?

Convinced they still had a great product the marketing team turned their attention to the West. The pen culture there was more advanced at that time than in Japan. They went to the U.S.A., visited stores and dealers and took the Sign Pen to the International Stationery Exhibition in Chicago. At the show they gave away samples of the Sign Pen to
visitors - and here's where their fortunes turned!

One visitor happened to be the press secretary to President Lyndon B Johnson. The President noticed the unfamiliar pen his secretary was using, tried it for himself and liked its smooth writing feel so much that he ordered 24 dozen pens of his own.

Then, a reporter from Newsweek magazine heard about the Sign Pen several days later and wrote an article about it.

The result? Pentel sold an amazing 1.8 million pens in just one month!

Europe followed hot on the heels of the success in America, and throughout the 1960s the Sign Pen created a storm of interest.
In the UK and France especially sales of the product to date have
been maintained at a significant level.

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