Crayola. The ubiquitous crayon. How common can a brand be? Turns out Crayola has made an uncommon move---from a crayon company to an art and design company. In a recent Brandweek article, we see that Crayola has given birth to a new brand: Liv Crayola.

The company has wisely leveraged pleasant associations from childhood with Crayola and extended it to “design-centric school supplies in Target stores next month as part of a move to reconnect with teens."

This move came as a result of a terrific revelation. Research showed that teenage girls felt the Crayola brand left them as they grew up, not the other way around.

Wow. Good stuff. We all know there are good ways to extend brands and plenty of bad ones. We’ve seen enough examples of failed brand extensions that have led to real consequences. So it’s refreshing to see what can be done if executed correctly.

Liv Crayola targets girls ages 13 to 18 with a product line of binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, and stationery products. “Design packs” or custom patterns can be created by girls online so they can personalize their items. A deal was made with Target as the sole retailer for Liv Crayola.

How did Crayola kick off its new brand?
social media and WOM ad campaigns during April pre-launched the brand.
• Two apps on the Crayola Facebook page allowed kids to “jazz up photos with Liv Crayola-inspired designs or “create your own Crayola color nickname and find your True Colors."
• Print buys in the fall issues of Seventeen magazine set the stage for digital and SM marketing campaigns.

When asked about using traditional media to reach teen girls, Victoria Lozano, Target VP Portfolio Marketing observed that it wasn’t “the best way to connect with them.” Liv Crayola may have a stronger than usual opportunity for success in its effort to reach teen girls.

Research showed that the brand brought back “happy, pleasant memories of childhood” for teens, when “Crayola as a very integral part of their lives.” Tapping into teen girls’ desire to express who they are in a creative, unique way by letting them co-create their own products ought to resonate with this demographic.

• Do you think other brands that appeal to kids might be losing opportunities to “grow” with them into their teen years and beyond?
• Which brands besides Crayola do you think might benefit from the kind of research Crayola did?
• What do you think of Crayola’s use of interactive and social media vs traditional media? Do you think it’s especially effective for young demographic groups, or for all consumer groups?

I’d love to hear from you.

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni