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MONTBLANC as STATUS SYMBOL.... a turnoff for you?


AlexItto

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Frankly, I think it’s seen as a status symbol primarily by those who don’t know how to write or appreciate fountain pens. For me personally, it’s a thing of beauty and I like it for its inherent qualities not as a show-off pen. 

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I think you put it the best, @stric75.

 

Montblanc pens are fantastic pens, but they are also status symbols that are overpriced.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Retro 51 Tornado Monarch "F" nib running Pelikan Aquamarine

Gioia Parthenope Extra Fine running Diamine Firefly

Visconti Opera Demo "F" nib running Green ink

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  • 5 months later...
On 3/12/2022 at 10:09 PM, austollie said:

For me, the fact that MBs are status symbols is a turn off, but not sufficient to stop me writing with mine.  I am a passionate collector of the 1970s MB Carrera line.  At the time, the Carrera (same as the Caressa and Turbo lines) were marketed by MB as sub-brands, aimed at students.  I fell for the marketing hook, line and sinker and that had little to do with the MB brand, but the clever marketing of the sub-brand Carrera (e.g. the tyre stand accessory that also worked with other brands).  When I was a kid, I couldn't afford one, but now I can.

 

So today, I write in meetings with my MB Carrera (which is not a luxury pen, but a student pen) and people have commented on it.  The MB symbol on the finial is, but alas, that recognisable. 

Very well said, and I share pretty much the same opinion. One of my favorite fountain pens is MB 522 Carrera, piston filler with LH nib.

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So far, basically nobody reacts to me writing with fountain pens, Montblanc or otherwise. So I guess it's not a status symbol among the people I meet. If it were, and people would react to it like that, that would be a turn off for me

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I do have a few Montblanc pens, one of them (a 146, 70's) acquired more than 30 yrs ago, tempted by, to be honest, the nib. Looked grand and promised nothing but good things. That it did, and now, 30 yrs or so later, I still use it and enjoy it. I believe it has something to do with youth lost and memories of a time when I was young, than appreciating the brand or its market or symbol status.

 

I do enjoy writing with them MB;s, and that is their main appeal, for me. Good and reliable pens, some of them very attractive even if you do not use them much. I do not care much (at all, actually) about the status of it; if I take out of my pocket a 644, nobody will guess it is a Montblanc (unless they spot the logo on top). However, I did notice that the symbol status or whatever is much more perceived to be such, when it comes to more modern pens (146, 149 and LE). The shape, the shiny black, the gold trimmings, and above the logo are indeed more noticeable than in the older, vintage models. And they do appear more of a fashion thingy and less the well made pens, which they are. 

 

I just write with them and glad I have them, as I am equally glad for owning other branded pens. They are just pens, made to write. Fashion? Could be, but then again I am not really into that.

         264643240_minoxandfountainpen.png.2be96a1cb960c6ba19879d9d0fb2a13a.png              Fountain pens and Minox                                 

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To add a little nuance here. I find that the boutique stores I have visited have represented an upscale, low energy, excellent sales experience where I've been able to explore and enjoy pens as a fun thing in their own right, absent the status symbol. However, much of the digital and print advertising of Montblanc I have seen, does in fact push a sense of status and "image consciousness" in a sometimes heavy handed way. In particular, some of their approaches to celebrity collaboration and representation are off-putting to me. They say, essentially, "Look at this well known, hot celebrity, he/she has made it, and what do the affluent people who have made it in life use to write with? Why, a Montblanc, of course." Now, I don't mind an in-vogue, "so hot right now" celebrity doing a nice fashion bit with Montblanc -- sometimes the aesthetic is really quite nice -- but the way they push the affluence and success angle so directly sometimes puts me off. 

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But isn’t this a common advertising gimmic for a wide range of products, ie, to associate a celebrity with them? Even simple things like non-alcoholic beverages?  I personally am not bothered by this advertising technique for Montblanc.  

 

The old Parker 51, a much revered pen among members in this forum, enjoyed a lot of similar advertising in its glory days. I’m sure the pens success had a lot to do with the advertising at the time.  I did a short bit of research and did scanned copied of ads from magazines. 

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9 hours ago, maclink said:

But isn’t this a common advertising gimmic for a wide range of products, ie, to associate a celebrity with them? Even simple things like non-alcoholic beverages?  I personally am not bothered by this advertising technique for Montblanc.  

 

The old Parker 51, a much revered pen among members in this forum, enjoyed a lot of similar advertising in its glory days. I’m sure the pens success had a lot to do with the advertising at the time.  I did a short bit of research and did scanned copied of ads from magazines. 

 

Oh sure. Using celebrities to market your products has a long and storied history, going much further back than just modern day industrial product advertising. In and of itself I'm not too bothered by this. But sometimes, the particular message just seems...unrefined, sort of low brow. I was reminded of this because of a recent advertisement I saw from Montblanc. In my experience, the kind of high end success Montblanc is "selling" is more subtle, and less ostentatious. People with that sort of success don't scream it out. Whereas, this advertisement below sort of screams it, like "Hey, look at me! We're success!" That sort of peacocking is off-putting for me in a brand that is supposed to have more "class" than that. I think it's about a sense of incongruent messaging more than anything in this case. 

 

CARRY THE ULTIMATE MARK OF SUCCESS
 
Zinedine Zidane and Montblanc – an unbeatable partnership.
 
 
As a World Cup winning footballer, Zinedine Zidane was renowned for his vision, craft and sheer elegance on the pitch. No wonder then, that he and Montblanc should be such natural partners.
 
 

 

 

From the tough streets of Marseille to the world’s most famous stadiums, Zinedine Zidane’s success has left an indelible mark on global football. He continues to make his mark, with Montblanc Meisterstück.
 
This whole advertisement just kind of screams low class rather than high class. 
 
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Fully agreed. It lacks any subtlety.

 

OTOH it makes me ponder whether it is a failure of the brand advertising or a failure of the target public. Somehow I get the impression that society is "tweetyfying" and losing capacity for getting nothing but the most basic, short, direct and plain messages.

 

Egotistically I prefer to think that the problem is the former and blame Montblanc, but that tiny suspicion keeps nagging me at the back of my brain.

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2 hours ago, txomsy said:

Fully agreed. It lacks any subtlety.

 

OTOH it makes me ponder whether it is a failure of the brand advertising or a failure of the target public. Somehow I get the impression that society is "tweetyfying" and losing capacity for getting nothing but the most basic, short, direct and plain messages.

 

Egotistically I prefer to think that the problem is the former and blame Montblanc, but that tiny suspicion keeps nagging me at the back of my brain.

 

Hard to say. I've seen some of the advertisements for colognes, parfume, and the like, and some of those are remarkably subtle and I think still modern enough to apply to the market Montblanc would like to reach. It is possible that it is the pen itself which causes some of the problem. The transition from practical to luxury was accomplished while writing with a pen was still a fundamental necessity for most people. Now, the struggle isn't just about Luxury branding, but about convincing your audience why they even want a pen at all. 

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Unrefined?  Low brow?  Screams low class?

 

Wasn't this Topic started to complain that MB is pretentious?

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6 hours ago, kazoolaw said:

Wasn't this Topic started to complain that MB is pretentious?

 

Exactly! :) While I appreciate the "we're writing lovers first" angle from a company like Platinum, if we're going to be in the pretentious Luxury Market that Montblanc positions itself in, at least the advertising should reflect that. IMO, this latest ad that I saw did not. The enjoyable part of a pretentious brand, at least in part, for me, is supposed to be the high-end, quality, aesthetic nature of their advertisements. Sometimes those are enjoyable in their own right, but not if they feel off. 

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On 9/23/2022 at 2:02 PM, kazoolaw said:

Unrefined?  Low brow?  Screams low class?

 

Wasn't this Topic started to complain that MB is pretentious?

I'm glad someone else noticed that. I was beginning to think this thread had crossed into a paralell universe of starting out by saying MB is too pretentious and ending up saying it's not pretentious enough!!!

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On 9/22/2022 at 5:40 PM, arcfide said:

 

Oh sure. Using celebrities to market your products has a long and storied history, going much further back than just modern day industrial product advertising.

 

I'm now thinking of the film noir classic Laura -- where she first meets Waldo Lydecker by faking an ad showing him touting a ballpoint pen.... B)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Beauty and status is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Many of those who ‘have status’ appear and behave ‘normal’. To that end, using a Montblanc is not dissimilar to using a Pilot Gel Pen. It’s functional and the decision to use one is not based upon any perceived status.

 

Similar as wearing a Rolex. I’ve found the vast majority of people do not recognise the watch on the wrist. Unless one mentions or draws attention to it unnecessarily.

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)

In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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