Sharpie Uncaps 'Self-Expression' Effort

Sharpie print ad

Sharpie is launching a new ad push that says the felt-pen brand is a creative force in making ordinary things extraordinary. The Oakbrook, Ill.-based company, a division of Newell Rubbermaid's Office Products Group, is positioning the brand as a tool for creative expression in the new effort, via Draftfcb Chicago.

  The campaign -- which comprises print, digital and broadcast ads -- shows Sharpie markers adding color to things like protest signs, skateboards, electric guitars, jeans, motorcycle helmets, even hitch-hiking signs. Voiceover, with a British accent, asks: "What would the world be like without self-expression? There'd be no purpose, no passion, no putting it out there for everyone to see." Tag: "Sharpie. Uncap what's inside."

The TV ad for the campaign started this month during the finale of "America's Next Top Model" and will run through June, per the company. Season finales include ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and "Lost" as well as CW's "Gossip Girl" and 15 cable networks including E!, VH1, ABC Family, TLC, HGTV, Lifetime, BET, MTV and more.

Magazine print ads follow the theme, taking prosaic household items and vivifying them via Sharpie markers. One has a shark drawn on a fish tank with an unsuspecting goldfish in the bowl, and a Sharpie-drawn smiley face on a sandwich bag giving the sandwich a life of its own. The magazine placements will appear in People, O The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Essence and Us Weekly.

This week, the company is launching a social-media leg on its SharpieUncapped.com site linked to its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites and the company's blog. The effort, focused around the theme "What would the world be like without self-expression?," encourages visitors to the site to submit images and videos of how they have used Sharpies to enliven prosaic items or create art.

Each month, some of the top choices will be showcased at the site's galley. The site also has a virtual drawing section, Web Ink, where visitors can virtually interact with Sharpie products to create their own Sharpie art.

Sharpie launched its first national ad campaign in 2002 with the theme "How do you use your Sharpie?" It launched the "Uncap what's inside" campaign and site last June with print and TV ads that, like the new effort, showed Sharpie markers elevating everyday items.

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