Sharpie puts fans' creativity at center of 
back-to-school campaign

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Sharpie revamps its packaging and website with designs of celebrity fans
Sharpie revamps its packaging and website with designs of celebrity fans

The Offer: Sharpie combined a redesign of its website and packaging — as well as a launch of several new products — with a campaign that urges fans to "start something with Sharpie." Its website challenges fans to upload both static images of Sharpie creations and videos to its YouTube channel, which were showcased when Sharpie "took over" YouTube on Aug. 27.

The Data: Sharpie targeted its 2 million Facebook fans. Entering the contest required users to register using contact information or via Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or Yahoo. Winning entries become a part of Sharpie's multichannel campaign. The one-day takeover of YouTube's homepage featured a mosaic of entries.

The Channel: In addition to four print ads with embedded quick response codes and the YouTube promotion, this campaign includes TV, cinema ads and a website redesigned to better incorporate social media. Interactive digital display and video ads via Draftfcb Chicago are running on Alloy, MTV, AOL and Hulu. 

The Creative: Sharpie has a roster of advocates known as the "Sharpie Squad," and from that group the brand selected three celebrity enthusiasts — DIY expert Erica Domasek, artist Cheeming Boey and skateboard designer Mark Rivard — as the faces of the campaign. The brand also showcased 16-year-old singer Marirose Weldon, who uses Sharpie liquid pencils to write her lyrics. Those users appeared in four print ads, along with their Sharpie creations. Sharpie's TV spots include other creative uses for Sharpies, including a marriage proposal.


Steve Kerho is SVP of strategy, analytics, media and marketing optimization at Organic. He was previously the director of interactive marketing and media for Nissan North America. Kerho is based in San Francisco. 

Lots of authentic content covering the major media channels. This is a broad ecosystem, and it will take a consistent commitment both in terms of media dollars and fresh content to feed it and keep it alive. Will the whole be greater than the sum of the parts, and how long will it sustain consumer engagement?

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