Bic (company)

Société Bic S.A., commonly called Bic and stylized as BiC, is a French manufacturing corporation based in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine. It sells a world-leading brand of lighters and pens since its founding by Marcel Bich (1914–1994) in 1945, and a competitive amount of shaving goods.[6] For several years, it sponsored Formula One and bicycle racers.

Société Bic S.A.
TypeSociété Anonyme
Euronext ParisBB
CAC Mid 60 Component
IndustryManufacturing
Founded25 October 1945; 77 years ago (1945-10-25)
Founders
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Gonzalve Bich (CEO)[1]
Products
RevenueIncrease€1.8319 billion (2021)[2]
Increase€279.8 million (2021) )[2]
Increase€314.2 million (2021)[3]
Total assetsIncrease€2.1694 billion (2021)[3]
Total equityIncrease€1.7238 billion (2021)[4]
OwnerBich family
Number of employees
10,471 (2021)[5]
Websitewww.bic.com

HistoryEdit

In 1942, Marcel Bich and his partner, Édouard Buffard, set up a business creating writing instrument parts in a factory in the Paris suburb of Clichy, where they began production of pen holders and pencil cases.[7] Marcel Bich bought the patent for the ballpoint pen from Hungarian inventor László Bíró, and using Swiss watchmaking tools, he devised a manufacturing process that produced stainless-steel balls for the tip of the pen.[8] Bich soon perfected the design of the ballpoint pen, and the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen became the company's first product in 1950.[9][10]

Bich formed Société Bic in 1953,[7] and the company was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1972.[11] The design of the pen has remained mostly unchanged since its initial launch, and as of 2021, remains the best-selling pen in the world.[12]

Global expansionEdit

Between 1950 and the 1970s, Bic expanded globally into Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain.[8] In 1958, the takeover of the American company "Waterman Pen Company" allowed Bic to establish itself in the United States.[13]

In December 2015, Bic acquired 100 percent ownership in Cello Writing, India, and the company was renamed as "Bic Cello (India)".[14] Cello was founded in 1995 and, as of December 2015, is India's largest manufacturer and distributor of writing instruments.[15] In 2019 Bic inaugurated a new facility located in Nairobi, Kenya, which serves the East Africa region.[16] As of May 2021, Bic has over 25 factories around the world.[8] Bic's global headquarters remains in Clichy, outside of Paris, France. Its U.S. headquarters are in Shelton, Connecticut.[17]

Products and product diversificationEdit

StationeryEdit

Following the success of the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen, Bic released its next pen, the 4 color pen, in 1970. The 4 color pen allowed one to change the ink color without changing the pen.[18]

In 1970, Gillette purchased S. T. Dupont Paris, whose principal product was luxury cigarette lighters. During this time Dupont explored the possibilities of marketing a disposable lighter, developing an inexpensive disposable lighter called Cricket, which it introduced in the United States in 1972. Later that year Bic was test marketing a disposable lighter that could provide 3,000 lights before wearing out; Bic introduced this lighter in 1973.[19] Typically the most affordable lighter on the market, the Bic disposable lighter was extremely popular and remains so today.[20] Bic also started to produce disposable razors during the 1970s. In 1975, the brand released the one-piece polystyrene razor, which became a highly demanded product.[21]

RazorsEdit

During the 1980s, Bic shaving products reached $52 million in sales and conquered 22.4% of the market shares.[22] In 1981, Bic began a subsidiary called Bic Sport, which manufactured and sold water sports products.[23] Bic announced the sale of Bic Sport to the Estonian company Tahe Outdoor in 2019.[24]

In 1989, Bic attempted further product diversification with the introduction of pocket-sized perfume spritzers. The perfumes were unsuccessful and were withdrawn in 1991.[25]

1990s–presentEdit

In 1992, Bic purchased Wite-Out Products, an American brand of correction products, and subsequently reintroduced the correction fluid as Bic Wite Out.[26]

Bic's shaving portfolio expanded throughout the 1990s and 2000s, adding the Soleil, a brand of razors for women, in 2004, and increasing the number of blades until the Flex 5 launched, with five blades, in January 2015 in the United States.[27][28]

The BiC PhoneEdit

 
Variant styles of the Bic Phone

In the summer of 2008, Bic launched the Bic Phone, marketed primarily in France and Belgium. It was advertised as a ready-to-use phone with one hour of communication and integrated SIM card and charged battery. The SIM card came loaded with 10 minutes of prepaid calls.[29]

In 2011, it was priced at €29 and came in 4 colors. The phone was the result of a partnership between Bic and Orange S.A., though it was manufactured and distributed by Alcatel-Lucent.

2018–presentEdit

In 2018, Bic introduced a new line of temporary tattoo markers called BodyMark by Bic.[30] Soon after, in 2019, Bic launched the Made For You grooming line, a line of shaving products without gender labels.[31]

In 2020, Bic purchased Djeep, a manufacturer of high-end and personalized lighters. The acquisition allowed Bic to expand its customizable lighter offerings.[32] That same year, Bic acquired Rocketbook, the leading smart reusable notebook brand in the U.S., in order to bring together analog and digital writing.[33]

The company introduced a new line of eco-friendly stationery products called Bic ReVolution in 2021. All are made of at least 50% recycled plastic. The paperboard used in all of the packaging is made of 100% recycled content.[34]

In May 2021, Bic launched an ad campaign featuring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg.[35]

In January 2022, Bic expanded its focus on human expression through the acquisition of Inkbox. The direct-to-consumer, semi-permanent tattoo brand empowers customers with tools for self-expression. With the DIY Skin Creative market expected to reach $1.5 billion in value by 2031, the acquisition of Inkbox is expected to elevate Bic to a leadership position in the fast-growing skin creative industry.[36]

OwnershipEdit

The Bich family owns about 46% of issued shares and controls 63% of its voting power.[37]

SponsorshipEdit

Bic sponsored a professional cycling team in the 1960s, led by Tour de France winners Jacques Anquetil and Luis Ocaña.[38] The company began sponsoring the Tour again in 2011 as an "official supporter",[39] which they have continued to do to the present day.[citation needed]

Bic also sponsored the Alain Prost–led Prost Grand Prix team in Formula One from 1997 to 2000.

Corporate identityEdit

Edit

The corporate logo comprises two parts; a rhomboid with curved corners, left and right sides angled upward and containing the letters "BiC" with "i" the only one in lower case, and the Bic Boy to its left. The rhomboid, which debuted in 1950 to coincide with the launch of the Bic Cristal, was originally red with white letters. The font of the letters remains unchanged. The Bic Boy is described on the corporation's website as "a schoolboy, with a head in the shape of a ball, holding a pen behind his back." The ball is the tungsten carbide one that was the key feature in Bic's new ballpoint pens in 1960. The schoolboy was designed by Raymond Savignac who also developed the product's "Nouvelle Bille" (new ballpoint) advertising campaign, which was intended to attract the attention of children. When the Bic Boy was added to the left of the rhomboid one year later in 1961, both changed to the newly adopted official corporate color of orange (Pantone 1235C).[40][41]

In popular cultureEdit

In 2018, Centquatre-Paris featured a Bic exhibition, which included 150 works created with the Bic collection. The exhibition included works from works by Alberto Giacometti, René Magritte and Fernand Léger, Martin Parr and Mamadou Cissé.[42][43]

The Bic Cristal is exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Center Pompidou in Paris.[8]

In 2020, the Bic Corporate Foundation was recognized in the Netflix Documentary On Est Ensemble. The film follows French social entrepreneur Stephane de Freitas on his journey to meet social change worldwide, introducing viewers to the organization's work in Brazil to educate and empower women.[44]

In July 2021, Bic partnered with iconic French 19th-century department store La Samaritaine to create a limited-edition collection of products inspired by the façade for which it is famous.[45]

Additionally, in August 2021, to celebrate more than 70 years of the Cristal Ballpoint Pen, Bic has collaborated with luxury French malletier, Pinel et Pinel, on the launch of a special-edition version of its iconic pen.[46]

FilmographyEdit

  • Le Bic Cristal, a documentary for television directed by Danielle Schirman and first aired on Arte in October 2005.[47][48]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bic Group restructures global comms team" (website). Prweek.com.
  2. ^ a b "2021 Universal Registration Document". Labrador.cld.bz.
  3. ^ a b "2021 Universal Registration Document". Labrador.cld.bz.
  4. ^ "2021 Universal Registration Document". Labrador.cld.bz.
  5. ^ "2021 Universal Registration Document". Labrador.cld.bz.
  6. ^ "Bic - Full Year 2021 Results" (PDF). Res.cloudinary.com. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  7. ^ a b Saxon, Wolfgang (1 June 1994). "Marcel Bich, 79, Dies; Cheap Pens Yielded Riches". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d Stadler, Sophie (9 April 2021). "Stylo Bic, ce jetable qui semble éternel". leparisien.fr (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Bic, à court d'encre, prépare son avenir". Investir (in French). 21 October 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Il était une fois : le stylo Bic Cristal". Leparticulier (in French). 10 November 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Bic boss Bruno Bich not disposable after all". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 22 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  12. ^ "Planetoscope - Statistiques : Nombre de stylos Bic Cristal vendus en France". Planetoscope.com.
  13. ^ "Milford Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Connecticut businesses and Conencticut events Milford CT chamber of commerce". 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 10 December 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  14. ^ Web page titled "Who Are We" at the Cello Writing website, retrieved 8 July 2020
  15. ^ Raghunathan, Anu. "French Stationery Major Bic Buys India's Largest Maker Of Writing Instruments - Cello Pens". Forbes. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  16. ^ Sturman, Michelle (12 March 2019). "Bic opens East Africa facility". Office Products International. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Hundreds to lose jobs as Bic moves headquarters from Milford to Shelton". News 12 - Connecticut. 16 September 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Le Bic quatre couleurs fête son demi-siècle". DH Les Sports + (in French). 1 August 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  19. ^ "History of Bic Corporation – FundingUniverse". fundinguniverse.com.
  20. ^ "A Brief History of Flame: The Story of the Everyday Lighter". Sharrowmills.com. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  21. ^ DiBacco, Thomas V. (26 July 1992). "The Razor Blade: History's Cutting Edge : Culture: Scientists know that ancient man shaved. But the razor was an undocumented implement until 1290". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  22. ^ "Bic disposable razor (1975)". Plasticsnewseurope.com. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  23. ^ "One of history's most prolific inventions". New Atlas. 29 August 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Bic cède sa filiale sport au numéro un européen des kayaks". Les Echos (in French). 2 January 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  25. ^ Tank, Aytekin (24 January 2020). "This Entrepreneur Pitfall is a Primal Impulse". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  26. ^ Klara, Robert (5 March 2018). "A Pioneering Single Mom Created Liquid Paper, and It's Been Fixing Typos for 60 Years Now". Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  27. ^ "Bic plots refillable shaver for women". Marketing Week. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Le rasoir Bic". Les Echos (in French). 28 July 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  29. ^ Sayer, Peter (11 July 2008). "Bic phone is no throw-away gadget, says Orange". Network World. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  30. ^ "Give Yourself A Temporary Tattoo With New Skin-safe Markers". KJRH. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  31. ^ "Bic Launches 'Made for You' Shaving Products Without Gender Labels". Cheddar. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  32. ^ "Pourquoi Bic rachète la première usine de briquets de son histoire". Les Echos (in French). 16 June 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  33. ^ "Bic: Acquisition of Rocketbook, the leading smart reusable notebook brand in the U.S." 9 November 2020.
  34. ^ Missakian, Natalie. "Bic launches eco-friendly stationery line". New Haven Biz.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ Lepitak, Stephen (4 May 2021). "Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart Promote Bic Lighter in New Partnership". Adweek.
  36. ^ "Bic Will Acquire Inkbox, the Cutting Edge, Semi-Permanent Tattoo Brand, Becoming a Leader of Fast-Growing Skin Creative Industry". Prnewswire.com.
  37. ^ "Bic: La famille Bich détient 45,4% du capital". Abcbourse.com.
  38. ^ "Historic Overview Bic". Cyclingranking.com.
  39. ^ "BIC Official Supporter of the Tour de France". Bicworld.com. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  40. ^ "Bic Logo History". Logoshistory.blogspot.com. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  41. ^ "Our Heritage, Your Passion". Bicworld.com.
  42. ^ "Des oeuvres au stylo Bic, exposition insolite au Centquatre à Paris". Sortiraparis.com (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  43. ^ Levent, Christophe (30 April 2018). "Exposition: on peut tout faire avec un Bic". Leparisien.fr (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  44. ^ "Bic Corporate Foundation Recognized in New Netfix Documentary". Ud.bic.com.
  45. ^ "Bic Creates Exclusive Collection of Products for the Reopening of la Samaritaine". Us.bic.com.
  46. ^ "French houses Bic and Pinel et Pinel come together to unveil an iconic ballpoint pen - the Cristal". Luxurylaunches.com. 30 June 2021.
  47. ^ "film-documentaire.fr - Portail du film documentaire". Film-documentaire.fr. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  48. ^ "Le Bic cristal de Danielle Schirman - (2004) - Documentaire". Telerama.fr (in French). Retrieved 23 February 2021.

External linksEdit