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Sharpie® Launches First National Advertising Campaign By Asking, "How Do You Use Your Sharpie?"

Jul 24, 2002

Bellwood, Ill. - July 24, 2002 The Sharpie brand, the leading family of permanent markers, today announced the largest integrated marketing campaign in the brand's nearly 40-year history, focusing on the wide and sometimes wild uses of America's favorite marker. The campaign, "How Do You Use Your Sharpie?" is the result of hundreds of testimonials from consumers collected by Sanford, makers of Sharpie. The company found that whether you're the President of the United States, a NASA astronaut or a mother marking your child's clothing before summer camp, the answer to how you use your Sharpie is as different as the pen's users themselves.

"We looked at all the various uses for Sharpie markers, listened to our consumers and believe we have developed a program that hits at the heart of the Sharpie appeal "Sharpie is as versatile as you want them to be," said Paul Donahue, president of Sanford. "This flexibility has helped Sharpie continue to grow at a double digit pace since 1963."

The campaign, which includes national network and cable television, point-of-purchase displays and grass-root events, launched July 15. From the preferred autograph pen for celebrities and professional athletes to the fine artist's means for expression to a tool orthopedic surgeons use to mark an incision with, the Sharpie brand is used in virtually every walk of life and in every profession.

A broadcast spot, the focal point of the efforts, depicts light-hearted "man on the street" interviews. The series of brief encounters with the likes of a mother and her child, a construction worker, teenage 'artist' skateboarder and mover demonstrate a variety of applications and surfaces Sharpie permanent markers can be used for. The tagline to the spot asks "How Do You Use Your Sharpie?"

In addition to the branding campaign, Sharpie is also leveraging its NASCAR involvement and title sponsorship of the Sharpie 500, formerly the Bristol Night Race, in Bristol, Tenn. At this year's race scheduled for Saturday, August 24, Sharpie may be awarding a lucky consumer $1 million, the result of a national sweepstakes that launched in March of this year. No purchase is required for a chance to win, and rules can be found at

In 2001, Sharpie grew more than 20 percent versus the previous year and holds an estimated 50 percent market share in permanent markers according to A.C. Nielsen.The growth is fueled by brand loyalty and a consistent flow of new products through line extensions such as colors and various tip sizes. These changes have opened new uses for the product. The Sharpie brand of permanent markers now includes new Sharpie Chisel Tip; Liquid Fine Point Sharpie; Sharpie Twin Tip; Super Sharpie; Sharpie Fine Point; Sharpie Extra-Fine Point and Sharpie Ultra-Fine Point.

"Individuals trust the Sharpie name and are finding new ways to use it," said Paul Donahue, president of Sanford. "New products have helped Sharpie extend itself from purely the 'autograph pen' to a writing instrument used by people in both their personal and professional lives. This campaign is the idea of our consumers and we think it will speak to the Sharpie users personally."

For more information contact Susan Wassel at 630-481-2018, or email