Creativity and Bic: some thoughts

A lot of brands on social media are like awkward guests at a finger lunch, making small talk because they feel they have to. And one of the things they all feel they have to talk about it public holidays. So, on Women’s Day, every brand on social media trots out a post. Most of them use stock imagery, plonk a quote next to it, and there you go. That’s all Bic did, and if everything had gone to plan, nobody would have paid any attention to it.

Bic post and reaction

The mistake that Bic made was to choose a quote that was bound to offend many women, and now their South African office is world famous for being insensitive. Into my collection of PowerPoint case studies it goes.

(I didn’t worry too much about the post itself. I was somewhat amused by the outrage, because there are more important things in this life than social media posts from brands that get ignored unless they offend someone.)

Creativity in social media requires endless stores of inspiration, commitment and willingness to fight for an idea. I’ve written content grids for clients. Sometimes you’ll come up with a radical idea and they won’t approve it. (I came up with a very different concept for one of our clients for this Women’s Day – he decided not to go for it for various (sensible) reasons. But the thought was there.)

I gave some thought to what I would have done with a brand like Bic for an event like Women’s Day. I grew up using Bic pens at school, and as a writer that is hugely meaningful to me.

The way we express ourselves changes as we grow older and, hopefully, wiser. So I came up with this idea:

Bic post idea Sarah BrittenHere’s another post, inspired by my own life. (Imagine if Bic got women to do versions for themselves, and then donated a hamper of products on their behalf to a school that needed stationery.)

Sarah BicI wrote all of this by hand, with a Bic pen. It didn’t cost much except time and some thought.

Two things that could do with a little more investment from the brands we work for, and – yes – those of us who produce work for them.


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