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Sanford Mr. Sketch Markers; Are They As Good As They Were?

January 24th, 2012 · 18 Comments

By Garland Pollard

Vintage Sanford Mr. Sketch Scented Markers Box Set

Since the 1970s, the greatest magic marker for kids has been the Sanford Mr. Sketch. You know this one; its a set of a dozen or so markers, all water soluble, that smell like their colors. They are sold in sets of different sizes, including 4, 8, 12 and 16.

They have great cult appeal; on YouTube all sorts of folks have posted videos, including the favorite practice of Mr. Sketch users, painting the smelly moustache!

Urban legend says that they had to stop making them because the government didn’t want kids to be sniffing pens, but this is not true.

Taste wise, they sort out  like this, for instance:

Black/Licorice
Red/Cherry
Yellow/Lemon
Brown/Cinnamon

Of course, my favorite is the cinnamon, but they are all pretty good. However, there is some debate as to whether the quality is what it used to be, and the markers apparently don’t last as long as before. Currently part of Newell Rubbermaid, the Sanford brand has been ignored, and Mr. Sketch too. There is definitely alot more that could be made out of the brand; it just needs to be connected to Sanford, not Sharpie, which is all about being indelible.

Sanford as a brand has a long history. It was apparently founded in Massachusetts in 1857 by Frederick W. Redington and William H. Sanford, Jr. as the Sanford Manufacturing Company. It later moved to Illinois.

Question for BrandlandUSA readers..is the Mr. Sketch as great as it was? And if you were to give some advice to Newell Rubbermaid, what would you say?

Below, a vintage marker box from Flickr.

 

More branding stories of interest:

America's Six Best Pen Brands

Tags: Art

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 rechercher // Jan 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I don’t remember using Mr. Sketch; I remember sets of generic felt tip markers in assorted colors, as well as El Marko, Flair and the late great Bic Banana pens. My dad used Sanford’s “Marker” (permanent, metal casing, distinctive chemical aroma) at his retail business–though these were probably considered “too dangerous” for home use near walls, carpeting, etc.

  • 2 Ed Husak // Mar 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I would say to bring back the “Instant Water Color” markers of the 60’s, with the cream-colored barrels and original scripted “Mr. Sketch” on the barrel. And bring back the “Aqua” color. These markers were awesome and seemed to go away when the scented ones came out.

  • 3 Kindergarten Supplies and Project Management : Shared Value Solutions // Jan 16, 2013 at 3:01 am

    […] The more fun you can bring into a session through ice-breakers and “kindergarten” tools like Mr. Sketch markers that smell like fruit.  I love to get CEOs and senior managers opening up the Mr. Skech box of markers and deciding on […]

  • 4 kristina mendez // May 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Does Mr. sketch can be use to paint food? Since the ink is non toxic, could I use them to decorate cakes?

  • 5 Jennifer // Jul 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I just wanted to share that I LOVE the Mr. Sketch commercial where the blueberry farts!!!!!!!

  • 6 boo izor // Jul 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Good grief! Isn’t it enough that our culture seems to be increasingly enamored of poor behavior — now a commercial for kids’ markers embracing “farts” as accepted humor? I’m no fuddy-duddy. I just think the popularity of raising up flatulence as humor is lazy and, frankly, disgusting. Come on people! With some good marketing skills, I’m sure you could have dredged up SOMETHING more appropriate to catch our children’s attention. Get a little class, huh?

  • 7 Kate // Aug 4, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I LOVE the new commercial!! I crack up like a child whenever I see it, I am 27 by the way. I have waited for years for these to hit the shelves again. I would suggest mass advertising though instead of limiting the ads to children’s channels and Hulu. I would also suggest creating a website of its own not linked to the makers and have a place for children to get printable coloring pages or games. Then they could share their creations on the website and have their own little “Mr. Sketch World”. It would be cute. I know my daughter loves the Crayola site like that.

  • 8 Dawn // Aug 13, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I now have grown children so Im not sure if i will ever get the chance to purchase these markers – but the commercial is absolutely adorable! Made my whole family laugh out loud!

  • 9 14 Things That Aren't Actually From The '90s | Sharing Interesting Stuff, Updates News & Free Tips // Aug 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory […]

  • 10 14 Things That Aren’t Actually From The ’90s // Aug 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory — well […]

  • 11 14 Things That Aren't Actually From The '90s - Banners San Antonio // Aug 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory […]

  • 12 Virginia // Nov 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    IF ANYONE HAS A SET OF VINTAGE MR. SKETCH MARKERS FOR SALE PLEASE CONTACT ME. MY BEST FRIEND IS A COLLECTOR. GINNY@MYCATISCOOL.COM OR VGOSS@PROHEALTHCARE.COM. THANK YOU!!

  • 13 14 Things That Aren’t Actually From The ’90s | NUIPAS. UN SITIO DIVERTIDO // Feb 18, 2015 at 3:45 am

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory […]

  • 14 Disgusted customer // Nov 27, 2015 at 7:50 am

    What a lowbrow and disgusting commercial for Mr. Sketch markers. This is the best you can do? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • 15 14 Things That Aren’t Actually From The ’90s | What's Trending Now // Jul 4, 2016 at 10:26 am

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory […]

  • 16 14 Things That Aren’t Actually From The ’90s | ViralTrail.com // Jul 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory […]

  • 17 14 cosas que, en realidad, no son de los noventa | Fun Time Viral // Jul 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    […] por todos lados y escuchabas Radio Disney. Pero los marcadores “Mr. Sketch” han estado dando vueltas por lo menos desde principios de los setentas. Así que puede ser que […]

  • 18 14 Things That Aren’t Actually From The ’90s | Viral Investor // Dec 21, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    […] van in the ’90s, while you doodled and listened to Radio Disney. But Mr. Sketch markers have been around since at least the early ‘70s. So some ‘70s kid somewhere might have the same memory […]

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