Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Why Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary depends on free pens / #PPWeek

Survey results reveal that more business people are akin to Michael O’Leary’s money saving ideas than they might care to admit!

89.3 per cent of business people use free branded pens ( #PPWeek ) at work

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary once made the bold statement that he bans the buying of ballpoints for the office commenting: “Hotels are great companies that offer free pens so I regularly purloin my pens… and I’m happy to supply hotel pens whenever I can.”*

Whilst many business people may not necessarily ‘purloin’ free pens at every given opportunity, a vast majority are capitalising on millions of items of promotional merchandise that are either given to them or freely available, provided by brands and organisations as an integral part of their marketing activities.

It actually seems to be widespread in business.  New survey evidence has shown that almost 9 out of 10 business people had a ‘branded promotional pen’ on their desk.

Gordon Glenister, Director-General of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) who commissioned the research as part of its activities for Promotional Products Week #PPWeek.commented: “It seems that, though many jokes are told about Ryanair’s relentless focus on profits and savings, many business people are actually quietly in agreement with O’Leary’s way of thinking, utilising freebies to their advantage and, by default, saving money on escalating stationery and general office costs.

“It’s remarkable that, as our survey shows, 89.3 per cent of business people had a branded promotional pen on their desk from an organisation – whether it’s from a hotel, bank, conference, exhibition stand or given by a supplier.

“It’s because of the thousands of brands and companies in all markets who recognise the effectiveness of pens and promotional merchandise and invest in them that Mr O’Leary and other business people are able to enjoy using them at no cost at all!”

But it seems that pens aren’t the only popular freebie item that people keep on their desk. 65.4 per cent of the business people asked said they had a promotional mug on their desk, 54 per cent had calendars and post it notes whilst 50.6 per cent used promotional notebooks.

It also seems that the brand name showcased on promotional products are memorable. A staggering 83 per cent could confidently name the company featured on an item on their desk. Furthermore 73 per cent had gone on to purchase from a company that had supplied a freebie.

Business people across the UK participated in the survey, which is part of Promotional Products Week. This takes place from 15th – 19th September and is being run by the BPMA to celebrate the power of embracing promotional products as a key part of the marketing mix. Many members will take part in activities including open days, events and hospitality, new product launches and special offers, as well as the BPMA Student Design Innovation Awards, which is run in conjunction with Brunel University. #PPWeek.