Thursday, June 9, 2011

Whatever happened to innocence? I had a Herbie Pencil when I was a kid...

I just got done reading an article posted on the Guardian newspaper's website. The writer asks this: 

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"What goes through the mind of an 11-year-old girl as she picks a Playboy bunny-emblazoned pencil case from the shop display? I want to be a lap dancer when I grow up? I can't believe I've been co-opted into the mainstreaming of soft porn?"
That got me thinking...  part of what I like about pencils is the idea that a pencil is pure, untainted and innocent. My love for pencils started when I was young. My favorite pencil when I was a kid was a Love Bug pencil. My first grade teacher (I love you Miss Halbmeier) gave it to me and I loved it so much. I used to daydream about driving Herbie around my desk (during class). That year "Herbie Goes Bananas" came out and I can remember watching it with my parents and whiny little brothers at the drive in theater. The only thing that could have made that memory any cooler would be if my parents had owned a Bug.

How do we get from pencils that have a little white VW with a personality of its own emblazoned on them to pencils with the logo of a grown-up company on them? Hugh Hefner is not one of the icons that come to mind when I think of Pencils.

Will anyone look back on a Playboy pencil and think fondly, "That is what got me into my sex career"? I don't think so. Pencil advertising has always been about giving the customer something that would remind them that your company appreciated their business and you hoped they would come back. Let's keep kids pencils safe for kids.

My Herbie Pencil was about reminding me about Herbie's adventures and setting my imagination free to daydream and even to draw a picture of the Volkswagen Beetle I hoped I would someday own.

Just a thought.

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