July 27, 2011

Sharpie® Fans Take Center Stage in Brand’s New Back-to-School Marketing Campaign

OAK BROOK, Ill., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- It's a new, bolder day at Sharpie. The brand today announces a makeover to its website and product packaging, rolls out a new back-to-school product line-up, and launches its "Start with Sharpie" campaign - a multi-channel effort, the centerpiece of which is a series of national print and digital ads featuring some of Sharpie's most passionate fans and their Sharpie® creations.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110727/CG42420-a)

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110727/CG42420-b)

With nearly two-million fans on Facebook and an active roster of advocates known as the Sharpie Squad, Sharpie didn't have to look far to find candidates to appear in the ads. Ultimately, the brand selected three Sharpie Squad members, along with a newcomer, teen singer and songwriter Marirose Weldon, who uses Sharpie Liquid Pencils to write her lyrics.

Each Sharpie fan appears in one of four unique print ads, along with the project they started with Sharpie:

  • Erica Domesek- DIY expert, author and creator of P.S.- I Made This, Erica's creations are inspired by some of the biggest names in fashion. She has been featured in top entertainment and fashion media, and both her website and her book feature several Sharpie DIY projects. In her Sharpie ad, Erica breathes new life into a standard-issue pencil case using new Stained by Sharpie(TM) fabric markers to create a chic purse.
  • Cheeming Boey- Known as the "coffee cup artist," Cheeming's work has been displayed in galleries nationwide. In his ad, Cheeming demonstrates how a Sharpie Pen and a simple paper cup can be combined to create something truly inspiring.
  • Mark Rivard- Using skateboards as his canvas, Mark's designs have appeared in sports commercials and galleries worldwide. Mark demonstrates how he uses Sharpie Mini markers to create coveted custom boards.
  • Marirose Weldon- At just 16-years-old, Marirose is already penning a name for herself in the music business with the recent release of her debut single, "I Want Love." Marirose uses Sharpie Liquid Pencils to craft lyrics she hopes will propel her career to the next level.

The full-page ads also include an adjacent 1/3-page ad with a QR code where readers can click to view videos showcasing the inspiration behind each project. The ads will appear in Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly and other magazines targeting teens.

"Sharpie has a long history with celebrities and autographs, but this year it's all about the fans and the inspiring ways they are using our products," said Sally Grimes, global vice president of marketing for Sharpie. "This is about real people with an authentic passion for our brand - people who started something with Sharpie and, as a result, are getting a jump-start on making their own dreams a reality."

Sharpie Cinema

In a brand first, Sharpie will also employ cinema advertising. The ads, scheduled to appear in July and August in major movie theaters nationwide, will echo Sharpie's TV spots airing simultaneously on national network and cable TV stations, including the CW, MTV, FUSE and Nickelodeon. Sharpie TV spots include "Will You Marry Me?", a proposal scenario featuring the Sharpie Pen, and "What Would The World Look Like Without Self-Expression?", which leaves viewers to ponder a world without creativity. In addition, Sharpie will run interactive digital display and video ads on sites including Alloy, AOL, MTV and HULU. The ads, developed by Draftfcb Chicago, will harness the power of advocacy to show the world what can begin with Sharpie and a little imagination.

New Products, Packaging, Website and More

In its 47th year of product innovation, Sharpie will introduce three all-new marquee products as part of the Start with Sharpie campaign, including:

  • Gel Highlighter(TM): This year's back-to-school must-have features gel stick technology that prevents smearing, bleed-through and drying out - and makes highlighting fun with its smooth gel formulation.
  • Stained by Sharpie(TM): A bold, colorful line of Sharpie markers specifically developed for performance on most fabric surfaces.
  • Sharpie® 80's Glam: Vibrant, limited edition permanent markers perfect for creating hip, colorful masterpieces. The collection turns back time with five new colors, chosen by Sharpie's Facebook fans, including - Argyle Green, Leg Warmer Orange, Jellie Pink, Banana Clip Yellow and Valley Girl Violet.

Sharpie is also adding new color selections to other brand favorites such as the Sharpie Mini (Magenta, Valley Girl Violet, Turquoise), Sharpie Pen fine tip (Turquoise, Coral, Clover, Hot Pink), and Sharpie Liquid Pencil (new barrel colors -- Turquoise, Orange, Lime, Purple). Today the Sharpie family includes 34 varieties, nine tip sizes and up to 30 assorted colors.

Packaging That Pops

Consumers shopping the back-to-school aisles will also notice new Sharpie packaging, the brand's first major packaging re-design in more than a decade. The new packaging reflects shifts in how consumers use the product, moving away from utilitarian labeling and embracing more creative forms of self-expression.

Key differences include a shift from a mostly black to white color footprint, a larger and angled Sharpie logo, and a product benefit iconography and hierarchy that makes shopping for Sharpie -- in its multitude of colors, tip sizes and varieties -- easier than ever. Sharpie fans will be heartened to know that the iconic Sharpie logo was not altered.

Share on Sharpie.com

Another part of Sharpie's back-to-school effort is a re-designed, socially optimized website - still found at www.sharpie.com. The site features a new, more user-friendly community experience where fans can create their own unique profile, upload and share their Sharpie projects, easily navigate the full product portfolio via an interactive color wheel, view how-to videos and Sharpie fan galleries, as well as engage with Sharpie on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Sharpie Blog.

Start Something on YouTube(TM)

Never one to shy away from bold statements, Sharpie will provide its fans with a one-of-a-kind platform to showcase their work when Sharpie stages a one-day takeover of YouTube's home page on Saturday, August 27. The takeover will feature an interactive mosaic of consumer-submitted artwork -- all the unique items that fans have started with Sharpie. Thousands of Sharpie images will combine in pixilated imagery to create a statement where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To be part of the takeover, visit www.sharpie.com.

"The YouTube takeover will give consumers and the rest of the world an opportunity to see what fans have started with Sharpie," Grimes said. "From the YouTube takeover to the new website, packaging, product line up and more - we're aiming to drive a deeper overall consumer connection, one that only Sharpie can provide to our loyal fans."

For more information on Sharpie products and the new campaign, please visit www.sharpie.com.


For 47 years, Sharpie has been the popular brand of permanent marker associated with the autograph experience. Newell Rubbermaid Office Products, maker of Sharpie® markers, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products, office organization and technology products, including such well-known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, DYMO®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, Prismacolor®, uni-ball® and Rolodex®, among others. Visit www.sharpie.com for more information.

SOURCE Sharpie