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The Creative Leap
The brilliance of The Lion King is that Disney found an idea with universal appeal and strategically implemented that idea across multiple mediums, and with that single idea, gave consumers a plethora of channels through which to experience the Disney brand.
What, exactly, does The Lion King have to do with creative companies? It’s an example of taking a company’s brand essence and creating a multilevel experience that reaches into the lives of a far broader audience in a much deeper way. The Lion King isn’t simply a movie. Nor is it just a book or play. It’s a brand experience. And one that offers numerous lessons to all companies looking to connect their brands to consumers.
Draw outside the Lines: Crayola Crayons
Before You Leap: clearly define the brand experience.What is the
entertainment factor? What are you delivering to your audience? How
are you capturing them in ways they have not experienced before?
Draw outside the Lines: Crayola Crayons
I’ll bet you didn’t know that, if you’re the average American, you used up 730 crayons by age 10. Or that Hallmark owns Binney & Smith, the company that owns Crayola. Or that when Hallmark first opened its doors, nearly a century ago, there were eight colors in a crayon box—black, brown, blue, red, violet, orange, yellow, and green (what, no Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber?)—and they cost a nickel. Today, Crayola crayons come in 120 colors. And these crayons are as popular as ever; in 1998, Crayola ranked as the number two top-selling “toy,” second only to Mattel’s Hot Wheels.5
I don’t know exactly what Crayola’s market share is, and I’m sure there must be other people who make crayons, but can you name another brand? Ninety-three years after their introduction, Crayola’s 100-billionth crayon rolled off the production line. And visualize this: Binney & Smith produces nearly 3 billion crayons a year, which ifplaced end to end would circle the earth more than six times. The Crayola brand name is recognized by 99 out of every 100 American consumers. (What I can’t figure out is who that hundredth person is.) And it’s a global brand: Crayola crayon boxes are printed in 12 languages.
The success of the Crayola brand owes much to its strong and consistent brand image: Crayola has always stood for color, fun, quality, creative development. Go to the Crayola website and you’ll discover a
CBIs have no set boundaries, no predetermined definition, no single source. Every element of the marketing mix—strategy media (both new and traditional), geographies, copy lengths, products, packaging, distribution channels, local events—can be the catalyst for a new CBI.
From a broader perspective, consumer and industry trends, the media, movies, books, even personal experience can be the basis for a new CBI. Ultimately, all CBIs come from synchronic thinking, the ability to see multiple connections on multiple levels where none were seen before.
—Cynthia Kenety, Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York
The Entertainment Factor
creativity center for kids and special areas for parents and educators that spread the message about the importance of art for children and the power of creativity. In 1993, when Crayola added new colors, consumers named all 16 of them. Burnt Sienna, meet Macaroni and Cheese, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, and Tickle Me Pink.
What would you do if presented with a brief from the CEO of Hallmark that asked you to think about how to expand the business, but not to do any advertising? Part of Euro RSCG MVBMS’s recommendation was to expand the Hallmark brand into new markets by targeting a younger generation of consumers, Gen Xers, and to do that by building on the family values of the Hallmark brand and the tremendous equity Hallmark has in family entertainment.
The agency made the leap not just from A to B to C, but from A to B to M. Why not create a TV show for the kids of those target Gen Xers—starring Crayola crayons?
The agency came up with the idea of creating an animated children’s show with crayons as the characters. (Imagine what you could do with a bunch of characters named Mauvelous and Cerulean and Atomic Tangerine and Jungle Green and Wild Watermelon.) The agency even created an animated character named Red the Fireman that morphs into a red-hot chili pepper and a friendly red-hot devil—among other things—and then back again. When you’re a crayon, he explains to his young viewers, you can be anything you want to be.
It was a CBI that was brilliantly rooted in the essence of the Crayola brand: encouraging kids to explore the power—and the sheer joy—of creativity. The Bigger Idea
Here was an entertainment vehicle that Hallmark could use to create a really fun brand experience around Crayola crayons (and other Binney & Smith brands like Silly Putty). But it could also create
Billiken: Like Taking Candy Ideas from Babies
a much bigger brand experience around the core values of the Hallmark brand—family, morality, and the return to traditional values. I thought it was a brilliant way to appeal to a much broader target base, to appeal to the moms of today just as the Hallmark brand appealed to the moms of the 1950s and 1960s. Above all, it was a great way to create an entertainment experience for the brand.