There are some sound reasons why pens and pencils are very popular printed promotional gifts. Ben Ward takes a look at some of the features and benefits in using writing instruments as marketing incentives. Generally they are great value, practical gifts, to raise awareness of your business, generate repeat orders and leave a long-lasting reminder of who you are and what you do? You soon realise why these products are one of the bed rocks of the promotional merchandise industry.

Practical – The gift you can give to almost anyone as a universally useful message carrier for your branding, message and contact details (website and/or phone number). Easy to carry around and distribute, take them in your pocket when networking, visiting clients and even socialising. In any situation, when some says, “Has anyone got a pen?” you can start a business conversation as you hand over your gift


Desirable and memorable – We all like something for nothing and a free gift can trigger emotions like happiness, gratitude, desire and greed. Emotive reactions are known to help cement memories, and your brand, into long term memory. British Promotional Merchandise Association research illustrates that nine out of ten people can recall the branding on a promotional gift they have received.


Cost effective – For little more than the cost of a business card you can give something with a physical impact and practical element, giving a great chance of regular use and retention. This is a much better return on your investment than say a short lived business card. Take a look at pen like the world wide, best-selling, Contour Argent which comes with a soft touch grip, wide choice of colours and a high-quality refill


Long life – A long product life will give the pen or pencil a great chance of being around when a client’s buying needs change. It can be right there when your customer needs you, in the pocket or on the desktop. A smart pen with clear branding will ensure the recipient sees your image again and again, greatly increasing the chance of a call or click through when it is time to buy. A product, out and about with a satisfied customer, also means that your details are on hand when they are talking about what you do to someone else AND when they themselves may need you again. More repeat business, more recommendations and when you hand one over, you can smile and politely ask for more referrals.


Quality matters – The better the quality of the pen you give, the greater the chance of its retention and usage by the user that you have carefully targeted. Many promotional pens are given away so think about a quality of gift needed to impress the people you want to do business with. This will increase the chance of retention and make the right impression with your target audience. You may like to think about having a lower cost pen as a business card, to give to PA’s and secretaries, to help get them on your side, PLUS a better value gift for Managers or Directors who may make the crucial buying decisions.


Pens v Pencils – Creative people love sketching and doodling so they often love pencils. These make a great, low cost, practical message carrier, as well as being a novel alternative to a ball pen. They can live in a desktop pen pot for years, getting occasional use. They are also very popular in education, often being used for awareness, rewards and fund raising. A classic round pencil with eraser, like the best-selling WE is an eco-friendly product that comes with a big print area Pencils are a great product to give out to students during freshers’ weeks, to make a smart first impression on the new kids in town, needing new sources of supply in their new location!


Multi-function pens – add a stylus, highlighter or torch to increase the functionality of your gift. Consider a multi-function pen to increase the range of practical uses. Note that many people love stylus pens for using small touch screens on phones and tablets. Stay germ free – don’t forget to use one next time that you have to use a touch screen to check-in for a train, a flight or at the doctor’s waiting room!


Help and guidance – Not sure what pen to give – an experienced gift distributor and BPMA member will be able to advise you on the best value item for your target audience and can offer alternatives to fit your budget. An experienced gift distributor and BPMA member will also be able to help with the creative use of promotional products, including artwork design, slogans and tag lines. Pick their brains on the best way to use branded pen and pencils to get the best value out of your promotional budget.


So there you have it, pens and pencils, as printed promotional products, really are something to write home about. Jot them down on your next marketing plan to get the write return on investment.

Ben Ward is General Manager at, established in advertising and promotions since 1985. For further quotes and information you can call Ben on 01772 42911 or email