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Pens to challenge the senses


Promotional and giveaway pens are a much-loved marketing tool but are definitely not all the same. Some companies give away cheap and cheerful pens in bulk, for example as exhibition freebies or to training course attendees. Others present a smaller number of valued clients with a quality pen to treasure.

Prodir specializes in the latter, with a broad range of pens and a clear emphasis on design and quality. Customers have the opportunity to customize their selected pens not only with the usual logos and colours, but also with shapes and textures which relate to their own products.

Prodir’s standard line has more than ten different models, all of which boast various colours and options for customization. Prodir’s real innovative spirit, however, can be seen in its new QS range of pens, which are very different from anything else on the market.

The range appeals to all the senses: The pens not only look attractive through the use of colours and logos, but they have textured surfaces which are pleasant to the touch. The QS00 can be completely personalized, with Prodir’s technicians transforming the client’s ideas into reality to reflect, for example, knitted weaves or other product surface textures.

Other models have a 3-D structured surface offering a distinctive but comfortable feel. The QS02 is a treat for the eyes with its jewel effect surface. The company has even designed a model specifically for the automotive industry which offers an authentic tyre tread effect and feel.

“The QS series is not a product, but a concept,” points out CEO Luca Ossola. “We are in the promotional business, and clients who want to communicate their own brand can create a pen with colours and shapes that reflect and identify their company. This premium line is really innovative.”

Prodir’s best seller is the DS3, a twist pen with simple and geometric lines and a curved clip. It became an icon and is one of the most copied models around the world. Prodir has sold an incredible 25 million DS3s a year for the past 30 years. The company has recently launched new DS2, DS4 and DS5 models which all offer an array of personalization options using colours and different print surfaces.

With an eye on the environment, there is even a biodegradable pen: Made completely from renewable materials, the DS3 Biotic is 80% compostable. “All our pen ranges are very different to those of our competitors in terms of the quality and design which characterize our pens,” the CEO adds.

Innovation is an ongoing theme, and new models are planned for 2017 and 2018, including the expansion of the biodegradable line. Prodir and Premec are members of the same group, with Premec producing pen ink and refills, and Prodir developing the pen bodies. This means that the pens are fully Swiss made, and the group is a true example of vertical integration.

With its headquarters in Lamone, the company has subsidiaries in Spain, France, the UK, Benelux, Germany, Russia and Austria. 90% of its pens are exported, mostly to the regions with subsidiaries but also to the USA, the Middle East and South East Asia.

To date the focus has been on promotional pens; however, this year7 Prodir is launching its new venture into retail sales in Italy, Germany and Switzerland. It is currently working on agreements with design stores in Milan, Berlin and Zurich, and also has London in its sights.

As an expert in the promotional business, Prodir presents its pens at various exhibitions around Europe, including the PSI in Düsseldorf and the CTCO in Lyon, as well as trade fairs in Spain. Its impressive and easy-to-navigate website provides potential clients with comprehensive information and is also an important marketing tool.

“Communication is very important for us,” notes Mr. Ossola. “We use social networks and write a blog. We also publish a semi-annual magazine called ‘Open’ in which we present all our news and new products.”

Prodir has huge plans for the future with new product lines and the launch of its pens on the retail market. “We want to move towards specialization in pens of a higher value,” explains Mr. Ossola. “At the same time, we need to balance this with the retention of our position as market leader.”

Mr. Ossola joined the group in 2000 and is CEO of Prodir and Premec. He has a clear view of the future. “The company is in continuous evolution, and we never stop developing new solutions. Premec works more internationally, especially with Asian markets, and Prodir is European focused. Together the company is a small multinational with big plans.”

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