Reading this review of our new Habana notebooks got me thinking about Moleskine and their aura of tradition: the “legendary notebook,” as their Google blurb would have it, that’s been “used for the past two centuries by great artists and thinkers, including Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway and Chatwin.”
Never mind that Moleskine notebooks were first made in 1998 and are only similar to the notebooks used by Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway, and Chatwin. This is savvy marketing and judging by their popularity, it’s working. But why? Do people really think that buying a Moleskine notebook will help them channel the spirit of bygone literary/artistic greatness? Some may (and subconsciously, at least, I think there’s more to the theory than most of us care to admit). Others may simply be pleased to know that someone they admire used the product, and it makes a certain amount of sense to trust a writer on the subject of paper (though, you know, Nabokov wrote on index cards).
Certainly other companies aren’t averse to talking about their famous fans our own Clairefontaine and Rhodia included though none that I’m aware of has staked so much of their reputation and product pitch on them. Maybe it comes down to the timing: if you like something, and you find out that someone you admire likes it, you take it as a subtle confirmation of your good taste. That feels less lemming-like than buying something just because a celebrity likes it.
What do you think?