Epson has launched a competition to celebrate its 40th Birthday with the lucky winner due a holiday of a lifetime worth about £4000. (Does £4000 really buy you truly momentous trip these days – surely that's just about enough to cover a couple of economy class train tickets to Manchester?) But before we get too excited and start slapping old Epson on the back and breaking out the party streamers, jelly and limp sausage rolls, a bit of fact checking is always worth-while when it comes to companies celebrating anniversaries. Ah the fine line between journalism and pedantry ;-)
7th April 2008 – Epson, the inventor of the first ever electronic micro-printer in 1968 has today launched a pan European competition to celebrate its 40th birthday.
It might shock you to know, that sometimes marketing and PR types will massage dates in order to say find an event to hang a bit of spare end of the quarter budget around for example.
Now for its part Epson's press release slightly fudges the issue by claiming that it's celebrating 40 years of innovation and not the creation of the company – but then the release does go onto say the competition is designed to "celebrate its 40th birthday". To further confuse things, the actual web site for the competition says that the competition is actually only about the launch of the first printer but then also goes on to also talk about a "birthday". Surely, the launch of a printer is an anniversary and has got nothing to do with creation or beginnings or birthdays?
When it comes to the creation of a company – when do you actually begin to start counting – when the founders first scribbled on the back of napkin, when the first sign got banged up outside the office?
When the company was formally registered is as good a date as any and checking out Epson's entry on Wikipedia we find that the company actually didn't come into being proper until 1975 when the term Epson was coined after the next generation of the Shinshu Seiki miniprinter, the EP-101 was launched - Epson is literally the "son of EP-101" – geddit?
But rather than going from the point that the Epson name came into being – Epson seems be counting its heritage from the invention of the EP-101 in September 1968 which doesn't seem wholly accurate. The company's corporate web-site claims that the Epson brand wasn't actually created until June 1975. What is more – this official time-line starts counting from May 1942 when Daiwa Kogyo – the predecessor of Seiko Espson Corporation) was established. So technically going by this the company is actually 66 years old.
Oh and if you want to be really picky then Epson Europe, which this competition comes from, wasn't set up till Jan 1990.
I have put a call into the PR to clear this up and waiting to hear back but all that aside the competition looks interesting and maybe if you ask nicely Epson will make up for their date-snafu by back-dating the £4000 to the true date of the company's creation on their website – 1942 – which should work out at – about £133,624.63 – if Measuringworth.com is correct.