License Global caught up with Victoria Lozano, executive vice president, marketing, Crayola, to delve into some of its recent activations and how the studio creates new IP-driven initiatives.

Ian Hart, Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA

February 14, 2024

6 Min Read
Crayola Experience at Pigeon Forge, TN., Crayola
Crayola Experience at Pigeon Forge, TN.Crayola

At a Glance

  • Crayola promoting creativity
  • Creating new IP-driven initiatives
  • Looking forward: Two new collaborations

Innovation in any business is key to success. But how does a brand like Crayola, which prides itself on color and creativity and has existed for more than a century, continue evolving and maintaining consumer interaction and engagement?

For many, the first box of 64 Crayola crayons or opening a new box of 24-count Crayola crayons on their first day of school is a clear memory. In fact, a study by Yale University found the distinctive scent of wax crayons is the 18th most recognizable smell among Americans.

Crayola is currently experiencing substantial momentum across all categories – retail partnerships, collaborations, content development, experiences, interactive and, of course, product – fueled by activations across its content, experiences, licensing and interactive vectors that are enabling its 360-degree engagement model.

Victoria Lozano, Crayola

Promoting Creativity

The company’s latest division, Crayola Studios, is dedicated to creating multiple-genre content for kids and families that explores the limitless possibilities of children’s creativity and leverages color as an intrinsic element of the story.

“Crayola Studios is a logical next step for the company,” says Victoria Lozano, executive vice president, marketing, Crayola. “It seeks to inspire and nurture the next generation and help them develop lifelong creative mindsets. 

Related:Crayola Launches Crayola Studios

“Our research shows that parents value creativity as a life skill critical to future potential, but many are looking for help to develop it in their kids. Having been a trusted part of kids’ and families’ lives for more than a century, Crayola has a unique perspective on the importance and impact of promoting creativity. This has allowed us to identify a ‘white space’ in the crowded kids content market where we can take the lead in championing and celebrating children’s creative self-expression through entertainment.”

Lozano explains Crayola Studios aims to work with best-in-class creators, studios and distribution partners who share the company’s vision of creating inspiring and joyful multi-genre content.

“We are developing a robust but carefully planned pipeline of content for kids and families that will include a range of genres and incorporate multiple content touchpoints across digital, long-form, podcasts and film,” says Lozano. “Animation will play a large role, and we’ll also look at live-action and unscripted projects.

While the lion’s share of Crayola Studios’ content will be original ideas, Crayola also has several existing IPs on its development slate, all of which will have a common goal: to inspire creative self-expression, showcase imagination in action and use color as language intrinsic to storytelling.

Related:Crayola: A Brand in Bloom

Creating New IP-Driven Initiatives

In October, Lozano took the stage at MIPJUNIOR to announce a new television partnership with 9 Story Media Group. At that time, she set out the vision and inspiration behind Crayola Studios’ move into entertainment content and explained why the ambitious plans fit naturally with the company’s wider ethos.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with 9 Story Media Group,” says Lozano. “This strong alliance demonstrates Crayola’s ambition for our move into kids’ content.”

The two companies will work together on developing shows, with 9 Story handling production and distribution and Crayola managing the licensing and merchandising for the franchises.

“For our first title in the multi-project deal, we’re teaming up with MIMO Studios on the active development of ‘The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian’ – the animated adaptation of Gen-Z Media’s award-winning kids’ podcast,” adds Lozano.

A science-fiction adventure story, “The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian” centers on Finn Caspian, an eight-year-old boy aboard The Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. 

The exterior of Crayola Experience in Easton, PA.

Crayola Location-Based Entertainment

Two years ago, Crayola announced its intention to expand its location-based entertainment footprint both domestically and internationally. To position itself for this growth, the company looked to actively seek partners to license and develop new iterations of Crayola Experience, which was recognized as one of America’s top 10 children’s museums by the 2023 USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards last year, as well as other location-based entertainment venues.

“By developing licensing partnerships that can bring new capital, expertise and local market access, we are able to accelerate our location-based entertainment expansion,” says Lozano. “In fact, a year later, we announced an exciting licensing agreement with BrightColors that will double the Crayola Experience brand’s presence in the U.S. in the next five years. BrightColors and its partner, Kingsmen Xperience, plan to open a minimum of five new Crayola Experience venues by 2028, beginning with the recently announced Pigeon Forge location, opening later this year.”

Crayola is also continuing to develop new creative concepts that will help scale its events and exhibitions location-based entertainment business. Crayola’s strong brand equity allows the company and its partners to create unique new experiences, not just different iterations of Crayola Experience.

“For example, early in 2022, Crayola debuted IDEAworks at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, a traveling exhibition that encourages families to explore innovation, invention and design thinking,” continues Lozano. “In the past couple of years, we’ve also collaborated with the global ocean exploration nonprofit, OceanX, and Kubota Tractor Corporation on four- to six-week national takeovers at each Crayola Experience location.”

L.O.L. Surprise! Loves x Crayola tots from MGA Entertainment.

Looking Forward: Two New Collaborations

Crayola aims to continue to expand the brand strategically and in meaningful ways for the business and its consumers this year and beyond.

“Through innovation and collaboration, we’ll build additional momentum behind already successful products, experiences and programs,” says Lozano. “You’ll also see us target new extensions of those categories, as well as explore exciting new opportunities in the children’s entertainment content space across children, parent and educator audiences.”

In October, MGA Entertainment and Crayola announced a multiyear agreement for MGA to produce and distribute Crayola-inspired dolls and licensed merchandise globally under its L.O.L. Surprise! Loves brand.

“We will have a large emphasis on the toy category in 2024 with a wide range of products from a variety of licensees. Included will be two huge collaborations,” concludes Lozano. “The first is a collaboration with Playmobil for a range of customizable playsets and characters that was announced last year at Toy Fair. The second is a huge collaboration with L.O.L. Surprise! dolls. The L.O.L. Surprise! range is unique in that the dolls will be extended into a joint licensing program between the two companies. We already have several categories licensed and are working with retailers to launch the program.”

This article was taken from February's issue of License Global.

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

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