Sharpie has a new social media campaign site, Sharpie Uncapped, encouraging people to use their Sharpies to create art all over the place, from shoes to soccer balls to Barbies. It seems to be a permanent extension of Sharpie's Write Out Loud campaign from earlier this year. The big idea is great, but I don't think it's really working yet.
For one thing the home page is a little confusing. It seems to be mostly an aggregator for everything referencing Sharpie on YouTube or Flickr. If you venture over to the Uncapped Gallery area of the site, it invites you to submit your Sharpie art and promises the possibility of being featured in the gallery. It took me much longer than it should have to figure out that would be in the gallery's Sharpie Showcase, mostly because 80% of the gallery page is more aggregators like we saw on the home page, just organized slightly differently. If you click on these you get a Flickr page key word searching 'Sharpie' or their YouTube channel.
The Sharpie Communities page really just reiterates what the Sharpie Gallery showed, but tagged a Facebook fan page and Twitter account in there for good measure. This page makes sense. What doesn't is why it's confusingly repeated in the gallery section.
The Sharpie How To section is abysmal. If you're going to even have a how to section and I'm going to take time to watch one of those how to videos, I do expect them to have some information that goes beyond a fourth grade art class. I realize we're dealing with markers here, but come on, Sharpies must do something slightly cooler than just draw on book covers and t-shirts, which I could probably figure out how to do without a video.
The site does have a few merits though. The look and feel of the site is great. It's clean with bold color accents, hand lettered headings and fun Sharpie doodles throughout and it works well. The banner ad inviting you to play around with the Sharpie twin tip marker—which really just translates to a fun little drawing widget—is fun and engaging. On another site, this banner ad would have me hooked—on this site, I really thought it needed it's own page to play and have fun with. And why don't you give me the option to draw on some shoes or other objects while we're at it?
Overall, the idea has some merit. Uploading your Sharpie Art will get Sharpie lovers involved, but for a simple four page website, the organization and user experience is not very good. Sharpie is a great, well-known brand and is such a widely used product it will naturally have a presence on social media sites like YouTube and Flickr, but this site isn't yet working to bring them together. What do you think? Did you get as lost as I did trying to navigate through the site?