Sunday, January 19, 2014

Marketing 21st Century Coloring Books

Really Big Coloring Books has hit upon a formula for marketing (and financial) success in the 21st century world of printed coloring books. Founder Wayne Bell tells Business Week: "It's about America. It's not about us."

In other words: Pick up on cultural themes or trends that affect or interest the target market, and design products around those themes.

In the case of Really Big Coloring Books, this meant jumping on a new opportunity that presented itself in 2008. During the presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain, the publisher noticed that parents and teachers were searching its website for Obama coloring books.

This gave Bell a new product idea. He responded with his first book based on this cultural trend, printed in time for the inauguration: President Obama 2008, A Coloring & Activity Book.

The Obama coloring book sold so well that Bell has added more than a dozen books since, spanning the political and cultural spectrum. The latest is the Amazon best-seller Ted Cruz to the Future, a coloring book that depicts Senator Cruz's stands on Constitutional issues. The product description explains: RBCB created this comic coloring and activity book not as an endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz but rather as an educational tool to be used in schools and perhaps as a handout for groups, clubs and organizations.

The company has released a number of coloring books to teach children about government, the Constitution, and major issues facing America today, including the U.S. Constitution Book shown above. It has also published Being Gay Is Okay, We Shall Never Forget 9/11, The Libertarian Party, and The Democratic Party. Whether adults buy these coloring books for educational purposes or as ironic gag gifts, Really Big Coloring Books is profiting from its savvy marketing. This "cultural" product line is growing and so are revenues.

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