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Montblanc collects personal writing memories to tackle illiteracy

April 4, 2017

Model Natalie Vertiz and actor Miguel Angel Silvestres for Montblanc's #PassItOn campaign


Germany’s Montblanc is penning a new chapter in its work with UNICEF as it looks to provide children with educational tools for success.

Taking inspiration from the Rosetta Stone, Montblanc created a collection of pens and accessories to benefit the organization’s efforts in China, Djibouti and Brazil. A UNICEF partner since 2004, Montblanc aims to help 5 million children through its latest campaign.

Write all about it

Since it paired up with UNICEF, Montblanc has raised more than $10 million for the organization. Now, the house is looking to expand its impact through a charitable collection.

As a “champion of the written word,” Montblanc’s designs incorporate characters used in different world languages. Keeping to the educational theme, the brand chose to include the first letters that children in six countries learn to form.

Along with pens, the collection also features accessories such as cufflinks and bracelets and leather goods. Communicating the international impact of this collection, watches feature a world map on the face and Montblanc’s Orbis Terrarum complication that allows the wearer to tell time in 24 time zones.

Montblanc for UNICEF collection

When consumers purchase items in the collection from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, Montblanc will make a donation to UNICEF.

Along with getting consumers involved with their wallets, Montblanc is inspiring them to reflect on their own writing experiences.

From April 3, the brand launched a digital map on its Web site to gather personal stories from fans. Consumers are invited to post an emotional memory of writing with the hashtag #PassItOn on Montblanc’s Facebook page or on Twitter or Instagram to be included.

The map features an abstract line that travels around the globe, and it aims to complete the circle. Kicking things off, influencers shared stories of love notes left for significant others or the person who taught them to write.

"Writing is at the core of the Maison's history," said Nicolas Baretzki, CEO of Montblanc, in a statement. "Montblanc is committed to advocating for a world where every child is given the chance to learn how to read and write.

"Through our long-term partnership with UNICEF we have raised an incredible amount which has helped children access the quality education they need to thrive," he said. "While there is still much to accomplish on the journey to ending illiteracy, every life changed, and every individual story is testament to the difference we can make by working together."

Even as it innovates, Montblanc keeps the handwritten word at heart.

The Richemont-owned house recently brought the elegance of the written word to digital devices in an endeavor to keep up with consumers who now rely on typed text.

Now that digital has made the act of writing with pen much more scarce and less relevant, Montblanc is hoping to bridge the gap with a paper and pen that links to a mobile application. The manufacturer’s new Augmented Paper allows users to transfer written notes and sketches into the app to be accessed on multiple digital platforms (see story).