Sharpie knows it has a following of enthusiasts who think of it as more than a mere marker. In recent years, the brand has capitalized on its following to launch marketing programs that celebrate a creativity among its fans, such as last year’s takeover of YouTube’s home page with an ad full of user-generated art. And this year is no different.
For 2012, the brand is encouraging followers to use their Sharpie markers to create artwork that will go into a music video featured as a commercial during the MTV Video Music Awards in September. For two weeks (until Aug. 6), fans will be encouraged to submit artwork designed with Sharpie markers via the brand’s Facebook page or Web site. That artwork will eventually be worked into a music video for California Wives, a Chicago-based indie-pop band that will be making its video debut with the ad.
“What we’re really about is putting fans at the center of our story,” Ryan Rouse, global director of marketing for Sharpie, tells Marketing Daily. “It’s not about ambushing an audience with an ad; it’s about taking the passion within our community and amplifying that.”
After the ad’s television debut, the brand is encouraging people to create their own cut of a music video featuring their own Sharpie artwork to share with friends and others. “We want to inspire self-expression.” Rouse says. “We’re viewing [the customizable video] as an opportunity for fans to express themselves with what they’ve started with Sharpie, and it will be shared with links back to Sharpie and Facebook, encouraging others to create their own.”
In the run-up to the video’s debut, Sharpie will showcase the work of two fans -- Emmy Star Brown and Enrico Miguel Thomas -- in advertising, social media and public relations efforts. Television ads (and longer-form videos available online), from Draftfcb Chicago showcase the artists’ work using Sharpie products on salvaged glass (Brown) and maps (Thomas).
“Our hope is that their stories of inspiration inspire all of us to create our own art,” Rouse says. “The thought process is to tell the story of members of our community that are starting something amazing and inspirational, and that will inspire people to use the product."