Crayola, Global Similar goals aid promo partnership

A forced viewing contest was vital to the success of a back-to-school promotional partnership between Crayola crayon maker Binney & Smith (Canada) and the Global Television Network, says a senior executive with the manufacturer.Mary Catherine Sanchioni, business development manager at Binney...

A forced viewing contest was vital to the success of a back-to-school promotional partnership between Crayola crayon maker Binney & Smith (Canada) and the Global Television Network, says a senior executive with the manufacturer.

Mary Catherine Sanchioni, business development manager at Binney & Smith, says the contest, aimed at youths aged six to 14 and conducted via Crayola tv spots during certain Global shows, contributed to a banner year for Crayola.

And David Hamilton, director of public relations and promotions with Global, which wanted to increase its family viewing, says the network, along with Binney & Smith, was inundated with phone calls to a 1-800 number set up to answer questions about the contest.

Precise targetting

Hamilton says the precise targetting of the promotion and the fact that both partners had similar goals was largely responsible for its success.

Sanchioni says Binney & Smith wanted to do something that was ‘interactive beyond the in-store promotions we regularly hold in the spring, at Christmas, and back-to-school.

‘When you make a promotion interactive, and children are forced to watch your television spots, you gain a lot more attention,’ she says.

‘The synergy between Global and the Crayola brand was also very good.’

‘Catch a Critter’

The contest, called ‘Catch a Critter,’ required that youngsters spot the bug- or alien-like animated Crayola Critter that popped up for seconds only during commercials for colored pencils.

The Critter appeared during spots in Global shows such as The Simpsons, Beverly Hills 90210, Major Dad, Ready or Not, Coach, Doogie Howser and The Young and the Restless.

Viewers were eligible for prizes, which included a trip for four to Universal Studios in Hollywood valued at $5,600, as well as 25 Crayola-branded director’s chairs and 100 knapsacks, by sending in an entry form which was placed in stores across the country selling Crayola products.

To qualify, viewers had to specify the name, date and time of the show in which they had seen a Crayola commercial with the Crayola Critter.

On-air promotion

Global promoted the contest on-air, while Crayola put 1,200 cardboard displays in retail outlets advertising the contest. The displays listed the network and its affiliates that were broadcasting the Critter spots, and included entry forms for the contest.

The contest kicked off with a tv teaser campaign in early August.

The spot told viewers to stay tuned to Global to learn the details of a Crayola contest starting the next week.

The contest began nationally in mid-August with commercials featuring the Critter and the spots ran until the last week of September on stations such as U.TV in Vancouver, cfcn in Calgary, cfrn in Edmonton, the stv stations in Saskatchewan, cknd in Winnipeg, and mitv in the Maritimes.

Global carried the spots in Ontario.

Running short

Soon stores were running short of entry forms and both Global and Binney & Smith were deluged with calls regarding contest rules and regulations.

Sanchioni says that while the number of entries are still being tabulated, usage and attitude surveys undertaken since the promotion show a marked increase for the Crayola brand.

While Crayola has a stronghold on the crayon market, it has progressively expanded its product portfolio and now targets a wider group.

Other products

Whereas crayons are marketed to children aged three to seven, colored pencils, markers, fabric paints, as well as a new line of craft kits – including build-it-yourself birdhouses and mask-making kits – are targetted to children up to 14.

Sanchioni says when Binney & Smith approached Global with the idea of forming the partnership early last spring, it wanted to maximize the company’s advertising budget as well as drive sales and increase product use and brand awareness.

‘Essentially, Global doubled our media buy,’ she says. ‘We got twice as much air play, and it added much more value to our advertising dollar.’

Hamilton says the promotion worked ‘because it offered prizes that were appealing to nearly everyone. There’s no sense having a contest if the prize is a key chain.’

And he says, just as important, was the fact the contest rules were simple.

Sanchioni agrees, adding that in planning partnerships of this kind, it is important to limit the number of players.

‘It can get confusing for consumers,’ she says. ‘It’s much better to stick to two powerful brands that consumers can easily identify with than to have too many different players.’

A similar promotion will be held this back-to-school season.

The contest will be revised somewhat, making it easier for consumers to enter by providing them with all the needed information through the tv commercials, allowing them to bypass picking up entry forms.

‘There’s no doubt that these kinds of partnerships will play an increasingly important role for us in the future,’ Sanchioni says.