Wearever Pennant: The Pen That Solves All of Life's Problems!

by Jim Mamoulides, June 20, 2015


Wearever throws down the gauntlet!

Long the biggest manufacturer of inexpensive pens, Wearever launched the $1 Pennant pen in 1950 with an aggressive ad campaign that featured strongly worded headlines, lists of value features, emphasis on the $1 price point compared to other pens, and most interestingly, comic vignettes showing how Wearever solves life's problems. Wearever, based in North Bergen, NJ, must have gone across the Hudson and hired guns blazing Mad Men. The ads are hilariously over the top and packed with pictures and details. It's as if the folks at Wearever decided to put on their Super Suits and challenge all those expensive pen manufacturers that are obviously ripping off the average Joe, who's just trying to make a living.

The first ads of what I'm going to call the Wearever comic campaign appear in the April 24, 1950 issue of Life magazine with the ominous headline, "Read this fighting ad about fountain pens!" These people are serious. So serious that they ran a series of five different ads in the campaign, through the May 14, 1951 issue of Life magazine, each having a comic story showing how Wearever saves the day. What a company!


Wearever Pennant solves Jane's gift problem!

What's Jane going to do? It's only a week until Bill's birthday and she hasn't nailed down his gift yet. In the story it appears that the gift is both from Jane and an unnamed gentleman who discuss spending up to $10 for a pen as a gift. What would that $10 buy? Something from Parker or Sheaffer, I bet. Jane and her friend think spending ten bucks is the way to impress Bill.

But not to worry, because Jane heads down to her local shop's pen counter and finds out that the amazing Wearever Pennant is only $1! And the best part is Bill is either a complete dope who doesn't know anything about pen prices, or the Wearever Pennant really does impress him as just as good as those overpriced $10 pens. Even a year later he is still raving about it!

Hey, the ad does say. "Read how Wearever, the world's largest pen manufacturer, will restore your confidence in the purchasing power of the dollar." Score one for Wearever!


Wearever Pennant cures Jim's budget headache!

Our next story appears in the May 29, 1950 issue of Life magazine. Jim has obviously wasted his money on a crummy pen that leaks all over the place. His more enlightened friend offers to let him try the awesome $1 Wearever Pennant. Jim just can't believe this smooth writing pen is only $1 and decides to get one of them for each member of the family! What a Dad! But frugal, too, as the savings on those pens is going to be enough to stave off the tax man and get new clothes for his family. Maybe those Wearever pens kept Jim out of jail? Who knows? That's Wearever, always looking out for the little guy.

And how did Wearever panic the public? Think of all those people just like Jim who were toiling away with lousy leaky pens, thinking they couldn't afford those really cool Wearever pens. I bet they were all ready to panic when they found out how much they overspent when one buck would have gotten them a Wearever Pennant! The ad says it all: get a Wearever pen, "write with it daily . . . and you will say with enthusiasm: 'This is the best writing instrument I've ever owned, regardless of price!'" I can only imagine that somewhere there were Wearever tent revival meetings. Score TWO for Wearever.


Wearever Pennant improves Helen's grades!

We can see that Wearever can solve the problems of adults like Jane and Jim, but what about their kids? Does Wearever have that kind of power? If the Wearever Pennant is "the pen many important business executives prefer," then why not young Helen? After all, Wearever reminds us, "A good student deserves a good pen. But that doesn't mean you have to pay a lot for one."

Helen's mom finds this out in the August 21, 1950 issue of Life magazine when she talks to Helen's teacher, Miss Jones. Miss Jones is obviously enlightened and knows that if Helen only has a Wearever Pennant, then her grades will improve. No leaky, scratchy, ugly overpriced pen is going to slow Helen down! Score THREE for Wearever!


Wearever Pennant helps Tommy surprise his mom!

If it works for Helen, why not scatterbrained Tommy, who is always losing or breaking his leaky pens? What a waste of money that boy must be! I wonder if Miss Jones is Tommy's aunt because here comes that same great advice, found in the September 18, 1950 issue of Life magazine: get that boy a Wearever pen! Even if he loses it, you're only out $1. If Jim was having tax trouble and unable to buy his family clothes because of his bad pen buying decisions, imagine the hurt Tommy's family is in having to spend their cold hard cash replacing his pens! Ouch!

But wait a minute! Tommy's mom tells her husband Jim about her success with Wearever and he then comes out as if he knew all along that Wearever was the right choice? Where has he been? These two have some serious communication issues. Did he not see his ink stained kid with pockets full of broken pens? Wearever may have restored her confidence, but this guy needs help. Score four for Wearever - at least for Tommy's mom. Score FOUR for Wearever!


Wearever Pennant beats the high cost of giving!

Next, in the May 14, 1951 issue of Life Magazine, we get back to that vexing problem of gift giving! Word must be getting out on Wearever pens. The story opens with a couple trying to figure out what to do for three birthday presents. If they go out and spend $10 a pen, maybe they can't buy clothes or pay their taxes. The humanity! What to do?

Jim, the husband, sees an ad for those $1 Wearever pens - that will solve it! His wife likes the idea, too! He talks to his friend and finds out that he can count on Wearever because they are made by the world's largest pen manufacturer. Problem solved! Score FIVE for Wearever!


Wearever Pennant improves Johnny's penmanship!

Finally, in the September 17, 1951 issue of Life Magazine, we see the last installment of the series. Johnny just can't write well because his crummy, leaky pen is holding him back! Not to worry, his teacher Miss Jones has the solution: try a Wearever pen! It works so well that Johnny runs home with the big news: "I can write a lot better because of that Wearever pen!" Mom is dubious. Only a buck for a good pen? Maybe she has a lot of money and can afford those ten dollar pens. But if her Johnny needs a Wearever, she'll get it! Problem solved!

SIX out of SIX for Wearever!


Wearever Pennant impacts lives!

So now you can see: the Wearever Pennant is clearly the biggest bang for the buck pen out there. More features, better quality, smoother writing, and better value. That Wearever Pennant will solve not only your gift giving problems, but will help your financial situation and taxes as well. Wearever will make your kids write better and get better grades. And all this from David Kahn, the largest pen manufacturer in the world. Who knew!

There are still Wearever Pennants out there in the wild waiting to impact lives, even today. What are you waiting for?



Advertisements referred to in this article are from the following issues of Life Magazine:

  • April 24, 1950
  • May 29, 1950
  • August 21, 1950
  • September 18, 1950
  • May 14, 1951
  • September 17, 1951


Comments on this article may be sent to the author, Jim Mamoulides Bibliography

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