Who among us hasn’t used a BIC brand ballpoint pen to write with at some point in our lives? From stationery to shavers, BIC’s packaging has featured a unique character for nearly 60 years. Resembling a small child dressed for school with a most unusual ballpoint head, he is simply known as the BIC Boy.
The Characters That Came Before The BIC Boy
Sacré bleu! It might surprise you to learn that the BIC Boy was not the first character to represent BIC in their advertising campaigns.
Business partners Marcel Bich and Édouard Buffard founded the business in 1944. Hailing from Clinchy, France, the company was initially established as a maker of writing instrument parts. A mere six years into business, Bich launched the BIC Cristal ballpoint pen. Generations of consumers still use this game changing pen today.
In 1952, French designer Raymond Savignac drew illustrations for BIC’s “Elle Court, Elle Court” advertising campaign. This translates to “She Runs, She Runs” in English, and featured a runner chasing a BIC pen. The campaign was a smash hit, and BiC received a French Oscar de la publicité award.
Over the next nine years, BIC enjoyed explosive success. The company participated in the Tour de France, and manufactured and distributed BIC ballpoint pens through Société BIC. A retractable pen called the BIC M10 debuted in 1956. The advertisement featured another Savignac illustration. This time, it’s of a little girl holding up a notebook in one hand and a BIC M10 in the other. The pages of the notebook are French for “j’ecris propre” translating to “I write clean” — because of BIC!
Raymond Savignac Pens The BIC Boy
BIC began establishing a worldwide presence in the late 1950s. The company entered the North American market in 1958, followed by Scandinavia in 1959, and Africa and the Middle East in 1960.
Raymond Savignac returned to illustrate the next character in BIC’s canon. The design was much simpler for the “Nouvelle Bille” (“New Ballpoint”) 1961 campaign.
Savignac drew a schoolboy who is every inch a schoolboy… Until you see his head. It’s a shiny ballpoint. Tucked behind his back is a BIC ballpoint pen. Next to the character is the BIC logo, in a bright orange shade. The color orange, incidentally, would become the official color of the BIC brand.
The BIC Boy Through The Decades
There’s no stopping the BIC Boy! 1970 saw the release of BIC’s 4-color pen set. The company also expanded its consumer products line throughout the 1970s to include shavers and lighters, all of which featured BIC Boy on the packaging.
2012 showed us a new side to the BIC Boy as the mascot leapt from paper into our real world. This commercial features the BIC Boy struggling to figure out what to wear as he heads back to school.
He settles on — what else? — his schoolboy uniform. The BIC Boy also makes sure he has plenty of BIC pens and highlighters packed into his backpack for the first day back. Here’s hoping we see more adventures starring the BIC Boy in commercial spots soon!