Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thinking Inside the Box

Binney and Smith manage the Crayola brand with rational deftness. As strong today as ever, it owns the back-to-school concept of elementary school kids and their mothers. The brand negotiates a heritage meaning across all media and is directed to mothers who remember it from their childhood (Edenkamp, 1998:1). To me, as a kid, it was a familiar friend the first day of class, especially the smell, a clay-like smell.

A recognizable and reproducible voice gives a brand dimension and differentiates it in the marketplace (Isaac Reid, 2009:1) The dimensions of the brand voice are color, creativity, imagination and the relationship between mothers and their kids (Liebeck, 2002:1). These are masterfully applied across all media and consistently between verbage and visuals.

Television ads show children in creative activities that are fun. Some of these ads include grandmother, mother and kids (Fitzgerald, 1992: 1). Here’s a recent TV spot with just kids but you know its meant for Moms (Crayola on Youtube).

Their Web site and Facebook (Crayola on Facebook) pages are kid friendly and relay the same messages about imaginative fun. Needless to say, B&S insisted the site comply faithfully to the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (Adobe). They even employ social media for interactive communications with mothers to provide:

“Tips to help mom invest in her child’s creativity, to ideas on how to create affordable fun to fire up her kids’ imaginations before they head back to class, moms can tweet the night away in a fun, party-like atmosphere” (Otlacan, 2009:1).

Crayola sponsors “Girls Night Out series” on Twitter from July 28 through August 25.

Crayola has received the ADDY award for its advert Celebrate the Scribble: Appreciating Children's Art Book in 2008. It associates its products with kids and the aspirations their mothers have for them.

Finally, its brand partnerships work the same theme. For example, it partners with Kraft in back-to-school promotions. According to Diamond (2003:2), Kraft “no better partner for a back-to-school promotion than Crayola.” It can tap the heritage and trust Crayola has built-up over the past century for back-to-school, fun and color.

Diamond, Matthew1 (10/6/2003). Leveraging the Big Idea. Marketing Magazine. Retrieved on November 13, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

Ebenkamp, Becky (06/29/98). Crayola aims fall push at mothers. Brandweek Retrieved on November 13, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

Fitzgerald, Kate (11/30/92). Family values shade Crayola's first image ad. Advertising Age. Retrieved on November 13, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

Isaac Reed School of Journalism, West Virginia University (2009). IMC 625 Lesson 4: Verbal Branding. Retrieved from WVU IMC 625 Lesson 2 on November 14, 2009.

Liebeck, Laura (February 2002). Crayola Colors Outside the Lines. License. Retrieved on November 13, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

Otlacan, Otilia (August 10, 2009). Crayola Launches Creativitycast2 Back-to-School Social Media Campaign on Twitter and Facebook
Retrieved on November 13, 2009 from


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