CHICAGO: Crayola, the crayon, art tools and handicrafts company, is ramping up its focus on experiential marketing having witnessed considerable success with this strategy.

Josh Kroo, vice president/marketing communications and interactive platforms at Crayola, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Brand Activation conference.

“This year, the experiential budget is off the charts,” he explained. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Crayola brightens brand performance with experiential marketing.)

“It’s much more balanced than it used to be. We believe that there’s still a role for TV, [but] experiential media is working hard for us.”

When Kroo came to Crayola three years ago after marketing-focused stints at Danon and Kraft Foods, “we were extremely heavy in TV” with a commitment in the 70% to 80% range, he reported.

Because “we’re never going to outspend everybody”, for Kroo and the Crayola marketing team, the challenge was thus to answer the question, “how do we leverage different tactics?”

This need, he continued, resulted in large part from a profound shift in the habits of children – a transformation fuelled by new technology, and that even threatened a brand with near-universal awareness, like Crayola.

“We may be huge in terms of brand stature,” said Kroo, “but the truth is our share of voice is really declining. When you look at Crayola's competitive set, it’s not just about arts and crafts.

“We’re literally competing for kids’ free time … [and] to have a strong share of voice. When you are a legacy brand like Crayola, it’s pretty easy to take it for granted.”

One breakthrough campaign for the brand saw it “retire” the dandelion yellow option from its iconic 24-crayon box, ask the public to suggest its replacement, and then vote on the ultimate choice – an honour going to a shade called “Bluetiful”.

Alongside telling stories involving its crayon colours, each of which have been given distinct names and personalities, Crayola tapped earned media and out-of-home experiences in locations such as Times Square in New York.

“You can have the best piece of content, but if nobody hears it, why are you doing this stuff?” Kroo asked. “We knew that we had to be disruptive.”

Sourced from WARC