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Susan Wassel

\r\n Iconic Sharpie Brand Addresses Consumer Needs with New Pen for Everyday Writing\r\n\r\n

Posted on June 29, 2008

ATLANTA - Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) today announced the debut of Sharpie Pen. An innovative extension from one of the most widely recognized brands in consumer products, Sharpie Pen addresses consumer needs by delivering the bold, smooth, high-quality writing experience associated with Sharpie markers but with the performance of a pen that doesn't bleed through paper. The new Sharpie Pen line extends the brand's presence beyond markers and highlighting into everyday writing so that the Sharpie brand can now be found in three key writing segments of the office products category. "We developed the Sharpie Pen based on our research that consumers wanted the bold quality of a Sharpie marker for all their everyday writing needs," said Howard Heckes, president of Newell Rubbermaid's Markers, Highlighters & Art Products global business unit. "With this line extension, we expect to drive incremental growth for the brand and maintain a leadership position in all three writing segments." Sharpie was introduced in 1964, and through the years the bold, permanent markers have reached cult status with many American consumers. More than 400 million Sharpie markers are produced each year, which translates to about four Sharpie markers per U.S. household. According to Sharpie consumer research, Sharpie markers evoke feelings of confidence and inspiration, hallmarks of brand loyalty and a key component of Newell Rubbermaid's overall brand strategy. The launch of Sharpie Pen further delivers on Newell Rubbermaid's commitment to consumer-driven innovation. The stylish design gives it a high-grade physical appearance, while providing comfort and performance. The ink is fade-, water-, and smear-resistant when dry, and the unique plastic tip allows for durability. The fine tip size ensures crisp, precise and consistent line-width, making Sharpie Pen ideal for thank-you notes, birthday cards and note-taking at home, work and school. The Sharpie Pen also reflects the emergence of new and non-traditional uses of the product by consumers, including office workers using Sharpie markers to take notes and teens using them to create colorful artwork on their shoes and jeans. As a result, the brand looked for ways to expand to meet consumer needs and grow the business. Consumer insights highlighted the opportunity to expand into the everyday writing segment. Helping pave the way for the creation of the Sharpie Pen was the 2007 launch of the Sharpie Ultra-Fine Retractable marker. An extension of the Sharpie Retractable product line, the Ultra-Fine Retractable marker features a smaller tip size for writing versus marking. There is no cap to lose, and the retractable feature means it can easily be opened and closed with only one hand. Also included is a Safety Seal™ Valve which helps prevent drying out. An immediate hit with consumers, the Sharpie Ultra-Fine Retractable marker brought the Sharpie line closer to featuring an everyday writing instrument. Sharpie Pen comes in four colors − black, blue, red and green − and is now available in the gel/rollerball pen section at national retailers including Office Depot, Staples, and Wal-Mart, with a suggested retail price of $1.79 for a single-pack, $3.58 for a two-pack, and $7.16 for a four-pack. About Newell Rubbermaid Newell Rubbermaid Inc., an S&P 500 company, is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with sales of over $6 billion and a strong portfolio of brands, including Rubbermaid®, Sharpie®, Graco®, Calphalon®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Levolor®, Paper Mate®, Dymo®, Waterman®, Parker®, Goody®, Bernzomatic® and Amerock®. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and has approximately 22,500 employees worldwide.