Well, the folks at
In 2010 the
Perhaps taking a page from former Attorney General
The 5.5-inch pens, available at Huntington branches in
It was a symbolic gesture to represent the company's broader efforts to break away from standard industry practices.
"Liberating our pens from their ball chains was just one step in our journey to differentiate Huntington in the marketplace and reinforce our culture of making customers feel welcome," said
The bank, of course, made broader efforts to attract customers, including unveiling its "Fair Play" banking program, and trademarked Asterisk-Free Checking and 24-Hour Grace products. It also rebranded its branch network, ATMs and apparel to further represent its "welcome culture."
While those changes have a more direct effect on the company's bottom line, executives have been surprised to find the pen promotion has taken on a life of its own.
In the first month, the company sent out 331,000 pens to its branches -- a number that ramped up rather quickly. The banking company now issues more than 600,000 pens a month to keep up with the demand.
Four years after starting the program, the company has given away more than 20 million pens to customers across the Midwest.
"We never expected the pens to become as popular as they are," Clifton said. "The quality of the pens has become a regular theme with countless anecdotes from everyday pen users including customers, waiters and pizza delivery drivers about how they last. Customers also tell us stories about where they have seen them in their travels."
The company has even compiled a list of stories about interesting places the pens have turned up. They include:
A Huntington customer flew to
A U.S. military member stationed in
During the funeral scene in the movie "Bad Grandpa," one of the extras is wearing a Huntington pen on a chain around his neck.
The company said its employees have even spotted competitors using Huntington pens, including in the drive-thru tubes at other banks.
Huntington plans to continue the promotion until it gives away 34 million pens -- one for each household in its banking territory.
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