There are no number 1 pencils. You can’t go up to the counter (because they all say 1), buy the first number 1 pencil (because the counter says so and you’ll walk out), turn it one (again because the counter says so), take it home and use it (because the counter says so)…
No number 1 pencil?
No, they will not sell you one and you will not walk out with one. No, you cannot tell a pencil from number 2 pencil. And no, you cannot pick a number 1 pencil and expect to walk out with it without the clerk being able to tell you which is which.
So, how can the pencil company get away with this?
They use a trick that’s fairly common in marketing. Remember, this pencil business is based upon marketing. So in order to sell more of this product, you sell to a whole new set of customers. And this is a trick that’s worked before. Remember in the mid-1940s when the typewriter company came up with the idea of a typewriter typewriter to replace the regular typewriter? The public didn’t like the typewriter typewriter, much less the typewritten books that were marketed.
They had to come up with some new marketing idea to make the typewriter typewriter relevant again. They came up with…
And when they came up with one, that was their new marketing idea. And no, the pencil pencil wasn’t the new advertising idea. They simply sold you a pencil pencil.
Now, that would be a great marketing idea. But instead, this new business came up with…
And you can’t tell a pencil from a number 1 pencil when you buy it. Because no one will sell you a pencil and will not sell you one if you ask for one. So, you walk out of the store with a piece of plastic that looks good on your arm and it’s a bit of a hassle to use.
Okay, I know there are things you can do if you’re still at home (especially if you’re the owner of a pencil company) to make the pencil business a bit more feasible to the American public. But how can you make pencils even more accessible to the American public by introducing a higher-quality pencil that can be worn on the arm?
That’s the point of the second part of the article. Read the other three parts
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