BIC Corporation is the country’s leading manufacturer of disposable pens, cigarette lighters, and shavers. The company was founded by Marcel Bich, who left his job as production manager for an ink company in 1945 to set up his own business outside of Paris, manufacturing parts for fountain pens and mechanical pencils.
In the early 1970’s BIC developed its disposable lighter to compete with the “Cricket” developed by Gillette. BIC’s lighter was designed to provide 3,000 lights before wearing out. BIC launched this lighter in 1973.
To compete with Gillette’s Cricket, which was solidly entrenched as the market leader at that time, BIC turned to creative television advertising showing sensuous women urging cigarette smokers to “Flick my BIC,” a phrase that soon became a part of the national lexicon.
What makes Bic Successful
BIC also slashed the wholesale price of its lighters so they sold at retail for less than one dollar. This action created a fierce price war with Gillette, and by the end of 1978, BIC surpassed Cricket. In 1984, Gillette pulled Cricket from the market.
Today BIC is the US sales leader of disposable lighters and is recognized as a worldwide leader in producing a safe, reliable flame for millions of consumers every day. BIC has sold more than 15 billion lighters in more than 160 countries around the world.
Bic Quality and Safety
Since BIC began manufacturing lighters 35 years ago, they have developed and perfected the strictest quality and safety standards in order to give its consumers the best performing lighters in the marketplace. These standards are employed at manufacturing facilities throughout the world.
Each day, BIC produces more than four million lighters, worldwide. Quality and safety are built into the production process. BIC’s quality assurance criteria for its lighters meet or exceed the lighter safety standards established by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and all other government agencies.
BIC’s commitment to quality continues even after each lighter has been machine inspected. Samples from each production run are further examined by quality control technicians. Also, random samples of finished lighters are collected from the marketplace so that a series of ongoing quality assurance tests can be performed.
BIC employees are carefully trained to recognize that quality is essential to the production of safe lighters. BIC employees are directly responsible for the quality control of all BIC® lighters. The average BIC employee in BIC’s assembly process spends approximately 25% of his or her time checking quality. In addition, quality assurance technicians at BIC evaluate packaged lighters to assure BIC’s high quality and compliance with safety standards.
Bic Marketing and Leadership
From a marketing perspective, BIC has launched custom printing of logos, designs and graphics on its lighters so that an individual’s need for personalization can be exploited within the brand.
BIC is proud of its 35-year history of providing safe, reliable lighters to millions of consumers around the world and continues to invest in the latest technology to maintain its position as a worldwide leader and provider of disposable lighters.