Bic Disposable Pantyhose

1976: The Bic Pen Corp. decided to branch out into the women's underwear market by introducing a line of disposable pantyhose. The thinking was that their company was already known for making disposable pens and lighters. So why not disposable pantyhose as well? Plus, they figured that female secretaries would be keen to order pantyhose together with other office supplies.

The Rotarian - May 1976

This is now considered to be a classic marketing failure. Matt Haig writes in his book Brand Failures:

When the Bic brand applied its name to women's underwear, consisting of a line of 'disposable pantyhose', they were unable to attract customers. Okay, so the disposability element was still there. But that was about it. Consumers were unable to see any link between Bic's other products and underwear, because of course there was no link.

The main problem was that the company insisted on using the Bic name. As marketing writer Al Ries has observed, using the same name in unrelated categories can create difficulties. "If you have a powerful perception for one class of product, it becomes almost impossible to extend that perception to a different class," he argues.

The company apparently didn't learn much from this failed product, because in 1989 it introduced Bic Perfume, which is considered to be another classic business blunder.

Chicago Tribune - Apr 3, 1976

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 18, 2021
     Category: Business | Products | Underwear | 1970s

Does anyone remember a competitor's product called "L'eggs"? It was packaged in a plastic egg shaped container, hence the name.
Posted by KDP on 03/18/21 at 10:40 AM
It's still around but without the egg-shaped container.
Posted by ges on 03/18/21 at 03:11 PM
I remember the L'Eggs mini-scandal -- they distributed booklets to elementary school teachers showing all the great arts-and-crafts projects students could make using the L'Eggs plastic eggs. After more than a few accusations of forcing moms to buy the brand so their kids wouldn't be left out of the fun, the company quietly discontinued the practice.
Posted by Phideaux on 03/18/21 at 04:21 PM
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