Sharpie Out to Prove It’s More Than a School Supply… We Knew That!

Marketing Daily reports that Sharpie is looking to keep its iconic markers top of mind with a new marketing campaign that positions the marker as the enabler of self-expression. “We do traditionally see a spike during a back-to-school time period,” Sally Grimes, global vice president of marketing for Sharpie, tells Marketing Daily. “But we’re starting now because we think Sharpie is about much more than a school supply. It’s a tool for self-expression not necessarily tied to any particular season.”

The new effort, from Draftfcb in Chicago, includes print and television advertising, as well as an interactive and community Web site. Print, which broke this week, depicts Sharpie markers changing everyday items into something more distinctive and personal. In one ad, for instance, an ordinary pair of sneakers is transformed into colorful, psychedelic design via a Sharpie Twin Tip Marker. Here is a Youtube Video that showcases the concept:

The tagline: “Uncap what’s inside.” The print ads will run in magazines such as Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Every Day with Rachael Ray and US Weekly. Television ads will begin airing this week on several national cable networks. “The inspiration for the campaign really came from the consumer,” Grimes says. “It came from the many ways that passionate Sharpie consumers are using the product today. If you Google Sharpie, you can see all the amazing things people are doing with Sharpie markers.”

To that end, the company has also developed a community Web site, Sharpie Uncapped, where people can share ideas about how to use Sharpie markers to help personalize their lives. Users will be able to share images and videos of everyday items that they have transformed using Sharpie markers. Each month, Sharpie will showcase the most inspiring in a special Sharpie Uncapped Gallery on the site. Other online elements include a blog and links to Facebook fan pages. The community also includes input and ideas from the so-called “Sharpie Squad,” a group of artists and bloggers who are inspired by Sharpie markers, according to Grimes. These fans will help provide tips and videos to give other users ideas for their own expressions, she says.

“The goal is really to inspire people to get creative and express themselves with Sharpie,” Grimes says. “It’s really a change in the way we as marketers interact with our consumers. It’s about what they think about us and celebrating the many loyal and passionate fans of Sharpie out there.”

It occurs to this old Art Dog that Sharpie’s new strategy could be a boon for savvy art material retails who feature and promote Sharpies to this target audience.

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