Guilty pleasure

Pens, Hong KongA random guilty pleasure is sniffing around stationery shops when I’m abroad on a trip.

Even though I hardly ever write a letter or card, save for a scribble on the back of an envelope or a quick shopping list, there’s nothing nicer than the thrill of the chase of finding a great new pen. And I’m not talking about something all snobby and elitist like some monster-sized Mont Blanc – just a great everyday ballpoint/rollerball.

Pretty much every stationery store in Hong Kong has a massive selection of everyday pens. The photo above was taken in a shop in Wan Chai and part of what must have been a three or four metre display. Heaven…

Even in this age of touchscreen smartphones and laptops there’s just something nice about a good pen. It reminds me of a press ad that Wieden + Kennedy produced for Honda that was just a cut out still life of a banana.

The genius of the copy was how engaging and arresting the whole concept was. I won’t bore you, but the first few lines run, ‘Have you ever written on a banana in biro? Its crazy but it works like a dream. You wish all writing could be this way. It flows. It’s smooth. It’s sensual.’

Just google the ad for the photo and rest of the copy. It ran years ago and I still remember it. Maybe it was great advertising, maybe I’m just a pen nerd…


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