Seen and noted: Start with Sharpie

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Though I have never used a Sharpie, its embedded in my head as one among the many ‘quintessentially American’ brands. Growing up in pre-liberalization India, its a brand I envied – especially when US-based relatives visited India. A new campaign for Sharpie has made the brand even more likable for me.

The tag line ‘Uncap what’s inside’ is a clear pointer to what’s intended as the positioning. But the true potential of the idea is brought alive in a new campaign: Start with Sharpie.  The ads are based on unusual creations using a Sharpie – and the catalyst is provided by real life Sharpie users.

They are Erica Domesek, a do-it-yourself aficionado who employs a new Sharpie fabric marker to turn a pencil case into a purse; Cheeming Boey, who uses pens to turn paper coffee cups into works of art that sell for as much as $900; Mark Rivard, who customizes skateboards with markers; and Marirose Weldon, a young singer and songwriter who uses a Sharpie Liquid Pencil to write lyrics.

The idea is most apt for user-generated content: it calls for involvement, an element of individuality and yet simple enough to participate. I like.

The campaign was created by my colleagues from the DraftFCB, Chicago office.


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  1. What a wonderful campaign – made even more powerful (in my mind) because it profiles actual brand ambassadors. Who knew that something as simple as a pen could be presented so compellingly? Thank you for digging it up.


    PS: Your blog is one of my favourites.

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