The Facit Man (Facitgubben)

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The story behind the great Facit man and the marketing ideas related to this idea.

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The Facit Man (Facitgubben)

  1. 1. Facit, the Swedish manufacturer of mechanical calculators, typewriters and office furniture, had their own mascot.
  2. 2. The Facit man.
  3. 3. He looked like this:
  4. 4. The Facit man symbolized a wizard who could work out the right answer through his calculator magic.
  5. 5. Facit’s competitors did not have anything like this.
  6. 6. The Facit men gave visibility and created an increased awareness about the company and its products.
  7. 7. In a technologically mature industry, this was the right way to gain competitive advantage.
  8. 8. So how was the Facit man born?
  9. 9. Like with everything else, there is a story behind…
  10. 10. In 1948, Mr. Ivan Hammar worked as global PR and brand manager at Facit. He got the idea that the company should have a human PR symbol and asked for a draft.
  11. 11. ”I met a great resistance when introducing the character, especially from people in the PR business, but despite this, I believed in the idea.”
  12. 12. ”Slowly, and carefully I started to introduce him in various settings, in PR material, instruction booklets and so on.”
  13. 13. ”Thanks to the sales director, Carl Skande, the Facit man started to show up at exhibitions, in shop windows, and his popularity increased steadily.”
  14. 14. ”Today, I meet people who can’t find words to express their gratitude for this creation.” (in 1968)
  15. 15. The Facit men joined Facit in the global expansion in the period 1950-70.
  16. 16. There was one small size Facit man…
  17. 17. … One medium size (40cm)…
  18. 18. … And one king size, ideal for fairs and big PR events.
  19. 19. In the mid 1960s one million Facit men had been delivered from the manufacturer in West Germany.
  20. 20. They were spread out across the world.
  21. 21. Facit wanted to make office work more joyful, and those 1 million Facit men certainly contributed to this.
  22. 22. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this was an innovative piece of marketing. Office work was considered as boring and consequently, products from Olympia, Olivetti and the others were regarded as boring.
  23. 23. Facit was different. It’s very hard to estimate the benefit of this clever marketing.
  24. 24. But it must have been big.
  25. 25. Who wants to buy a boring product?
  26. 26. Those more than 1 million Facit men can be found throughout the entire world today.
  27. 27. If you wanna buy one in Sweden, you’d probably have to pay about 800 SEK...
  28. 28. They provide a great memory of a great company that collapsed back in the 1970s.
  29. 29. The story behind him reminds us that if you want to do something new, you will always encounter criticism since no one has thought about it before.
  30. 30. Photos taken at: Åtvidabergs Bruks och Facit Museum, Sweden http://brukskultur.atvidaberg.se/index2.html Åssa Industri och Bil Museum, Sweden http://www.assamuseet.se/ Thank You!
  31. 31. Most of those images come from the fantastic Facit archives in Åtidaberg. Many thanks to ’Brukskultur’ and to Åtvidabergs Kommun for taking care of this great source.
  32. 32. Christian Sandström is a PhD student at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He writes and speaks about disruptive innovation and technological change. www.christiansandstrom.org christian.sandstrom at chalmers.se

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