Mr. Land’s Kids Who Care: The Brains Behind Crayola’s ColorCyle Program

LyndseyEhgoetz    October 22, 2013

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“I think they make great markers, but if they could recycle them, they would make the world a much better place!”-Student in Mr. Land’s Kid’s That Care Club

Crayola has spent decades creating products to inspire young creative minds.   Crayola strives to provide children with high quality products that often feature their favourite cartoon character or flashy kid approved packaging.  I must admit, as a self-proclaimed lover of the environment, I recently thought of how wasteful these products can be, especially when made of plastic, like the Crayola markers we have all owned and used.  I asked myself, “Do markers really just pile up in the landfill?”

Upon further research, my worst fears were set at ease after learning of Mr. Land’s Kid’s Petition to make Crayola markers recyclable.  The students in Mr. Land’s Kids That Care Club are the voice behind Crayola’s newly created ColorCycle Marker Recycling Program.  It all started with a petition by the students to get Crayola to start a marker recycling program for schools in North America.  Mr. Land created a YouTube video featuring the young students in his Kids That Care Club, to support the petition they had all drawn up in an effort to get Crayola to listen.  The video is touching, and for all lovers of the environment, and even those who just love kids; these students do a fantastic job at convincing people to sign this petition.

Companies today need to be looking to Social Media sources for product development.  It appears it is necessary as consumers are now acknowledging their newfound power to speak and be heard on various Social Media platforms.  “Frequently the product development process is done in isolation, secrecy, and with limited consumer involvement. In a business landscape where consumers have increasing power and input into business and brands’ definition and success, it only seems logical to involve them when creating offerings for them”(Matthew Peneycad, Activate Your Social Media Community for Product Development).

Looking to social media platforms and the internet in general, seems to be one of the best ways to hear what your customers are looking for.  As Muniba Tariq from FourthSource.com describes, it is a free means of accessing a large variety of consumers and test subjects, “Social platforms offer free access to a vast pool of subjects, with whom brands can engage and converse in real-time, adopt a proactive approach by digging deeper into issues critical to product success and implement the most feasible of recommendations or solutions offered by customers within a collaborative setting.”

Crayola has responded, taking action to create their ColorCycle Program.  This idea, to recycle markers in schools, all came from the ideas and voices of children on a YouTube Video and online petition urging for a change, to eliminate marker waste from landfills.  On their marker recycling web page, a prominently displayed, “ColorCycle” logo is present.  An intelligent idea that came from a group of children who simply wished their dried out markers could be recycled.  Crayola is now recycling markers and turning them into fuel.  According to their  “Crayola ColorCycle-See How You Can Help” video, “308 markers produces 1 gallon of fuel, enough to power an SUV for 15 miles!” There is no doubt that this program, which only began in September 2013, will continue to grow with the recent release of Crayola’s YouTube response, “Crayola ColorCycle-See How You Can Help”.  As more and more schools across North America learn of this program and the fact that it was designed from the ideas and wishes of school children, I am sure Crayola will see an increase in their marker sales.

Lessons for others:

  • Keeping an eye on what consumers are saying about you on social media platforms with regards to your products is a key aspect of product development.
  • Focusing in on current trends and desires of consumers (in this case the eco-friendly marker recycling program) will ensure your product remains top choice amongst those who share similar values with your products and business.
  • Even the smallest voices are consumers and need to be heard-they often have fantastic insight!

Web References:

Mr. Land’s Change.Org Petition

Mr. Land’s YouTube Video

SocialMediaToday.com: Activate Your Social Media Community for Product Development

FourthSource.com: Marketers increasingly acknowledge social media’s role in product development

Crayola.com: Marker Recycling-Crayola ColorCycle Program

Submitted By: Lyndsey Ehgoetz, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.