Showing posts with label redes sociales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label redes sociales. Show all posts

13 February 2020

Curidas Marketing

I finished the year 2019 saying that Japanese brands had a hard time dealing with social media and advertising their products in the Internet. And then, 2020 came and we see Platinum skillfully promoting the soon-to-be-released platinum Curidas on the Internet.

It is hard to pinpoint where and when the first rumors originated, but by the end of December they had reached many of us. Then, actual docs generated by Platinum reached Facebook and the rumor became news. Since then –if not from before-- Platinum has managed the tempo to raise a great anxiety in many of us. Short videos, pics, early sale events, controversies on the price (in the US), plain information... All that repeated, re-broadcasted, and relayed by many of us on social media, blogs, and videos. And now we are waiting for that day in which the pen will be finally and openly for sale.


Part of the teasing campaign--a Curidas at a shop in Tokyo, but just to test!


One of the docs created by Platinum that found its way to the Internet.

Well done, Platinum!

This strategy contrasts with what Pilot has done with the latest version of the Capless—the Capless LS.

It might only be that there is not that much new on this later iteration of the well-known model, but Pilot failed at making it exciting.


The Capless LS as it appeared on the Pilot website.
Source: Pilot press release at https://www.pilot.co.jp/press_release/2019/12/06/post_60.html (retrieved on 4/Jan/2020).

Some might appreciate this absence of induced anxiety about the new release, but I doubt it was a wise move to increase the sales of the new pen.

And so, we are mostly speaking of the Curidas and not of the Capless LS.


Sailor FL Black Luster – Sailor Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, February 3rd 2020
etiquetas: Pilot, Platinum, capless, redes sociales

31 December 2019

Tokyo Pen Trends 2019

(This review is part of a collective initiative to summarize and analyze the relevant events of 2019 in the pen scene. The other members are Fudefan and Inky.Rocks:
Fudefan's take on 2019: https://www.fudefan.com/2019/12/2019-in-review/
Inky.Rocks' video: https://youtu.be/L2M372smNEg ).


A lot might have happened, pen wise- in this year of 2019, but not everything is equally interesting, and each of us has a different view on those. These are my selection and of the relevant events, and my reflections on them.

1. Pen Scene.
2019 was the year of the 100th anniversary of Platinum. This company managed the celebration a lot better than Pilot, whose centenary was celebrated in 2018, but Platinum quickly lost momentum after a promising start.

In Japan, the only new pen released in 2019 was the Pilot Custom NS (the Procyon, let us remember, was released in 2018). The NS is the first steel nib in the Custom family, and its price is about 20% lower than that the Custom 74 with a gold nib. Is this a correct strategy in the Japanese market?

Other than this Custom NS, there have not been any new pen—all there is are rehashed pens, minor cosmetic changes on well known models. The Prime, the Platinum pen to commemorate its 100th anniversary, is little else than a 3776 in silver costume. Sailor, on its side, is mastering the art of generating original models –this is the name they use— to be sold exclusively at a certain shop. It seems a very successful system to raise the attention of customers by creating a false sense of scarcity.


A sample of Platinum 3776 Centuries. All of them are essentially the same pen.


As this, The Prime, is also a 3776 in disguise. The Prime was the pen Platinum released to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Anyway, not much new.

(The Capless LS has just been released in Japan and barely speaks about what went on along 2019. However, this is something new in the pen scene in Japan.)

In contrast, Taiwanese and Chinese pens are becoming a lot more active and innovative. They are offering new recreations of old filling systems with new models almost every month in the case of pens from the PR of China. Their distribution is also becoming more open and all those pens are easier to purchase.


This Wing Sung, obviously inspired on the Twsbi Vac700, in an example of the activity of many Chinese brands.


2. Ink Scene.
More colors more expensive. And the inflation continues.

The only positive side effect is the surge of small ink companies—Krishna in India, Trouble Maker in Philippines, Three Oysters in South Korea, Kala in Taiwan... But only time will say whether there is enough room for so many people. Or enough customers for so many colors...

But the radical approach to this would be to return to those old colors in unassuming inkwells for about JPY 400 per 30 ml: good and inexpensive ink.


When initially marketed, Irishizuku's inks were very expensive. Now they are among the most inexpensive in the Japanese market. And even cheaper are the regular Pilot inks (the inkwell on the right): JPY 400 (plus tax) for 30 ml. This is the radical approach to the present inflation in inks and their prices.


3. Paper.
Paper, or good quality paper, is also becoming a luxury good. But the production costs might be at the heart of this phenomenon. The paper industry relies heavily on the economy of scale and a small community like that of fountain pen aficionados is unable to generate a big demand. The result--producing small batches to fulfill the demand of such small group is inherently expensive.


"Fountain Pen Friendly Paper Collection", by Yamamoto Paper. Some of those included on this pad are no longer available because some mills are no longer in business.

The alternative, for the time being, could be to go back to old Japanese scholar notebooks, some of which are made of good quality paper, albeit not labeled or advertised as “fountain pen friendly”. Kokuyo Campus, and regular Tsubame notebooks are two obvious options easily available.


This Tsubame paper is excellent and inexpensive. There are other rulings...


4. Events.
The Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS) is here to stay after a very successful second edition. Its main feature –from my perspective— was the ability of gather people from far away locations. TIPS acted as the meeting point for aficionados from places as far away as Spain and Australia, and that despite being more of a stationery salon than of a pen show.


Tokyo International Pen Show. Not a pen show, but a meeting point.

In contrast, the active Tokyo pen community seems isolated and detached from the rest of the World.


5. Social Media.
I am new to this environment, and I am therefore very naïve –or simply skeptical- about it. However, it is hard to miss the huge activity on social media, and the personal connections created through them. The result is a much better connected pen community where parochial attitudes –like those of Japanese brands- are bound to fail.


Japanese companies have not understood anything related to social media, and behave following patterns anchored in the twentieth century, with segregated and separated markets. They do not seem to understand online shopping across borders.

On the contrary, Chinese and Taiwanese pen companies have embraced this new world and are taking benefit from their constant presence on them.


I am sure there is a lot more that could be said about this year 2019, but this is what called my attention.


WiPens Toledo – Montblanc Irish Green

Bruno Taut
Nakano, December 8th 2019
etiquetas: Japón, China, Taiwan, mercado, evento, redes sociales, Pilot, Platinum, Sailor, tinta

30 September 2019

Cheap Tools

When the service is free you are the product. Or a tool in the hands of others.

The Pelikan Hub, 2019 edition, is over and it is time to think what that event is and what it means.

I am not particularly interested on Pelikan and on the endless rehash of models this company practices nowadays. I also tend to look at these promotional events from a healthy distance. But on this occasion the local pen community made it more appealing. And last week I attended my first Pelikan Hub. That was in Tokyo.

So, what are these events?


In May each year since 2014, Pelikan open a call to pen aficionados for them to meet on a day in September. Then, Pelikan chooses a hub master –the organizer of each event in every city--, prints some promotional material like leaflets and banners, provides some inkwells and... Well, that is all.


The rest is up to the local hub master and to the attendees. In Tokyo, we paid to rent the space. And at the event, we received the promotional material, which includes an inkwell (Star Ruby this year), and spoke about pens –not only Pelikan--, and about inks. And at the same time we mention the meeting on social media and other means of online communication.


So, we become the tools of advertisement for Pelikan. And almost for free—what is the actual cost of the whole operation for Pelikan? How much is that cost per person attending the hubs? How mush does an inkwell cost to Pelikan?


Some Pelikan, and some non-Pelikan pens. But the main character is Bokumondoh...

We attendees became tools, very inexpensive tools. And we even pay to meet! In the old Spanish expression, “encima de burros, apaleados”.

The good part? Meeting other pen aficionados. But we do not need Pelikan to do so.


Pilot Vpen – Bril Turquoise Blue

Bruno Taut
Kunitachi, September 27th 2019
etiquetas: redes sociales, Pelikan, Tokyo

28 July 2019

Bring Pilot's Pen Station Back

Pilot's Pen Station was the museum of pens Pilot had at its headquarters in Tokyo, not far from Ginza. The museum open in October of 2002, substituting an older and smaller exhibit, and closed down on March 31st of 2016 (::1::, ::2::), when the company closed the building to demolish and reconstruct the headquarters at the same site.


The old building...


... and some of its contents.

Three years later the new building was completed and becoming operative. Now the site is shared with a hotel of the Hankyu company and some restaurants.


The new building, now shared with a Hankyu hotel.

However, Pilot has no plans to reopen the old museum. Some of the items on display were moved to the production plant in Hiratsuka, where the company had already created a small museum on maki-e pens. But the available space is limited and the old gunpowder building can hardly host a larger museum space. Hiratsuka, at the same time, is over one hour away from Tokyo.


The gunpowder building at the Hiratsuka plant of Pilot's.

In view of all this, and missing that lovely museum so much, I have decided to campaign for Pilot to reopen it somewhere in Tokyo. And I invite all of you to show your interest and support.


Let's fill up this label: #pilotpenstation!

On Instagram, where I go as @brunotaut_fp, I am using the label #pilotpenstation to group together all the related posts. And some of you, active as you are on other social media, could start similar labels and actions on those.

And, who know, Pilot might listen to us!


Pilot Super Ultra 500 – De Atramentis Beethoven

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 27th 2019
etiquetas: redes sociales, Pilot, Tokyo, Japón

28 January 2019

The IG Effect

Some of you might have seen that I have joined the ranks of Instagram (IG). That happened last October. Since then, I have published over 30 posts –30 pics-- with irregular reactions, and I have learned a couple of things.


IG creates a totally new context with new rules. Leigh Reyes made some very interesting remarks on her end-of-the-year recap, and I recommend reading them. I am more naïve, and more illiterate in all things Internet, but I cannot help offering my own observations.

With IG, the already volatile Internet is even more so. On one hand, the contents are not indexed and it is not possible to perform any real search within the IG world. Then comes the very short time during which contents are really active—that is, appearing on the feeds of other users.


My most successful post on IG.

The effect of this strategy, as Leigh Reyes pointed out, is that when we play the IG game we all become brands. The obvious consequence is the need to be present on the feeds and to be liked by others. To satisfy those we need to publish often even if we might publish essentially the same thing. And that because that is what the IG algorithm prioritizes.


Some more random posts of mine.

The lifetime of a post is about 48 hours. After that, it just rests confined to the list of your own posts. Therefore, it is not surprising that IG glorifies the image over the texts. Actually, it despises the texts—everything must be fast and easy to consume, and you consume all that on the go. So, the text editor is awful and the options for making later amendments, limited. But it does not matter—live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse...

Instagram works well for advertisement, but not for the calm consumption of information. In more than one sense, IG is incompatible with the slow life of a fountain pen. Incompatible with the way of the pen, the mannenhitsu-dô, 万年筆.


Pilot Petit-1, 1st generation – Pilot Brown

Bruno Taut
Chuo, Janaury 25th 2019
Etiquetas: redes sociales, metabitácora