Binney & Smith: Make Play campaign

Frank Caso


Crayola was the most recognized brand name in children's art products, but as the twenty-first century dawned, the company that made Crayola—Binney & Smith of Easton, Pennsylvania (founded in 1885, a subsidiary of Hallmark since 1984)—grew more and more concerned that brand perception had boxed it into a corner. The public saw that Crayola had only crayons and markers, and for that reason 90 percent of its sales came during the late summer, when children were preparing to return to school. Furthermore, most new Crayola products were so overshadowed by the brand's two main items that sales in other areas were poor. Lastly, many viewed the line as old-fashioned, as even art supplies had moved into the electronic age.

To correct this perception Binney & Smith turned to its advertising agency of record, Leo Burnett of Chicago. In response to the challenge, the agency devised an award-winning television campaign on a budget of less than $1 million. The campaign, which aired on television for three weeks in spring of 2003, was titled "Make Play." Two ads, "Night" and "Fin," highlighted the new Crayola products while showing that children could enjoy Crayola year-round.