#ShowYourSharpie Love

Sharpie isn’t any ordinary permanent marker manufacturer; it’s the brand that stands up for self-expression. Letting you be heard, putting you at the center of your world, helping you express all the ideas, feelings, moods, and memories you have with absolute conviction and passion—that’s what Sharpie’s are all about!

Today, Sharpie shows appreciation for self-expression and uniqueness. Since 2011, Sharpie has been running a Back-to-School campaign, which urges consumers to “Start Something” with its products. The campaign includes print media, television, and internet advertisements that highlight consumers taking ordinary products and decorating them with Sharpie pens. This campaign is also seen in social media (such as Instagram and Facebook), which allows easier access for Sharpie fans to share their art.  This campaign is directed towards teenagers because of their extensive social media use. According to Pew Research Center, 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online.

Although Sharpie usually targets teens for their Back-to-School campaign, I would like to target young adult women between the ages of 18-24. The cohort of young adults who have internet access is at 95%, with 23% of them on Twitter. This target audience is ideal for an extension of Sharpie’s Back-to-School campaign, because these are usually the years where young adults begin to venture out on their own. During these few years, people don’t have a ton of money, but they still want to have desirable items for their homes. Due to the low income, it is not uncommon to see women partake in crafts, especially when it comes to decorating, such as a dorm room. This is what makes this market ideal, they are not afraid to take an affordable/older item and turn it into something beautiful! Twitter would also be an appropriate platform because it not only targets adults, but it is a great medium for spreading a campaign.

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Sharpie currently has an industry market share of 89%, with the help of social media. With a market share this high, it is in Sharpie’s best interest to increase their overall brand awareness and engagement with consumers. By focusing on brand awareness and engagement, it should also increase their overall sales. In order to do this, Sharpie will be expanding on their Back-to-School campaign by marketing young adult women between the ages of 18-24. This will primarily be a Twitter campaign called #ShowYourSharpie, and consist of a contest that allows individuals to submit entries of their Sharpie artwork. This artwork could range from doodles to DIY crafts, such as lamps and cell phone cases. This campaign will be attracting both current and prospective customers. This Twitter campaign will allow contestants to easily submit their entries, and since it is a contest on artwork, it will hopefully boost sales by encouraging consumers to go out to their local stores and purchase Sharpie products.

Now you might be wondering what the incentive is to enter the contest. Sharpie’s parent company is Newell Rubbermaid, which also makes Rubbermaid products. Since this campaign is targeting women between the ages of 18-24, many of these consumers are in college or about to live on their own. Rubbermaid is best-known for their storage products, so many of these women are looking for cute products to store their belongings. Not to mention those who are moving into dorm rooms where space is limited and smart storage is essential. The winner of this #ShowYourSharpie contest will assist in the design of the upcoming years Rubbermaid products and be rewarded with a $25,000 cash prize.

The contest will consist of contestants submitting their entries through Twitter with the #ShowYourSharpie. The Twitter page will include a banner with a collage of already submitted artwork. In order to get the word out about the campaign, Sharpie will strategically place tweets to inform people of the details. An example of a tweet would consist of a picture with a room fully decorated with items that were designed using Sharpies. This example would include a link to the Sharpie website explaining the details of the contest and include a tagline such as, “Think you have the Sharpie eye for art? Then prove it #ShowYourSharpie.” Another example of a tweet would include a link to an article, such as 30 DIY Sharpie Projects You Have to Try, and something on the lines of, “When you need some crafts in your life, grab a Sharpie and see what you can create #ShowYourSharpie.”  This overall campaign will also be using a supporting platform, Instagram. Instagram is notorious for giving users the opportunity to create photos that have more of an artist element. This would allow contestants to have another platform to submit their entries. There would then be an informative tweet encouraging consumers that submissions through Instagram will be accepted, but remind them to include the campaign hashtag. The #ShowYourSharpie campaign will also include traditional advertisings in stores. The partnership between Rubbermaid and Sharpie will allow the campaign to be shown in multiple locations throughout stores, such as kitchen, home, and school section.

In order to determine our success, we will be looking at our biggest competitor in the stationary industry, Bic. Currently, Sharpie has the largest market share in the industry. By comparing both Twitter accounts, Sharpie has about a 0.017% engagement rate, whereas Bic has an engagement rate that is practically non-existent with barely any retweets or favorites and only 157 followers. Sharpie is hoping to improve their engagement rate to at least 2% during this campaign. An increase in engagement should hopefully correlate to a spike in sales due to the increase of submissions and the fact that consumers will have to go out and buy Sharpie products in order to participate in the contest. A way to collect results would be to look at overall sales, site visits, retweets, and the use of #ShowYourSharpie.

This campaign would need additional help in the assessment on entries being submitted. These judges could be popular DIY bloggers, who could also assist in the design of the Rubbermaid products at the end of the contest. The social media team could also gain assistance from the design team at Rubbermaid. As for the price of the campaign, it could very well be in the millions due to the new product line at Rubbermaid. Newell Rubbermaid, the parent company for Sharpie, could look at this as an investment. In reality, Sharpie is targeting women between the ages of 18-24, but so is Rubbermaid. These individuals who are buying Sharpie pens could easily be the same people purchasing adorable storage accessories. The tools needed for this campaign would include manufacturing supplies for the winning design, advertising components, and any type of metric software to help analyze engagement.

Sharpie is a company that allows for opportunities to take something ordinary and create something extraordinary.  Sharpie is all about self-expression and the campaign #ShowYourSharpie gives consumers the chance to express themselves with the use of a Sharpie marker.


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