Pencils are all alike, aren’t they? Not anymore! A Superb Example of Differentiation

A pencil is a pencil. You buy them by the carton (or even crate!) from whichever store has them on the cheapest sale. But not anymore!

In a brilliant stroke of genius, Dixon Ticonderoga has introduced their “My Hold Right Pencil” a color-coded, triangular pencil that supposedly teaches kids how to hold a pencil correctly.  With this introduction, Dixon dramatically rewrites the competitive landscape!

What is so fascinating about this new product introduction is that standard pencils from Staples cost 4 cents each. The My Hold Right Pencil costs $1.66! Why in the world would anyone pay nearly 200% more than a perfectly workable solution? The answer lies in the use of statistics and an emotional appeal to parents who want their children to succeed.

The 8/23 issue of a USA Today story indicated that 35% of kindergartners hold pencils wrong, contributing to poor handwriting–which adversely affects future success. Parents are going to ask themselves, “Do I want my child to succeed?” Of course they do. They’ll think, “I don’t want my child to be in that 35% and start off wrong,” so they’ll pony up the money, like “good” parents always do.

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