Yash Bhatia

Archies 2.0 appeals to Gen-Z with new mascot and merchandise business

The gifting brand unveils a new mascot, and expands into the kids category. We spoke to Varun Moolchandani, executive director to know the insights of it.

For those who grew up in the 90s, Archies' gift cards held a cherished role as a means of affection. During that era, these cards served as a heartfelt means to convey emotions and sentiments to loved ones. There was an inherent magic to these cards, capable of bringing forth genuine smiles. However, with the advent of digitization, the prominence of traditional cards gradually waned. 

In response, Archies has embarked on a journey to connect with Gen-Z, seeking to rekindle the emotional resonance that earlier generations found by adapting to the evolving preferences of today's youth.

In pursuit of this goal, the gifting brand has unveiled its brand new mascot in the form of an animated bespectacled giraffe named ‘AMA'. Varun Moolchandani, executive director, Archies reveals that, "The name AMA is dedicated to our chairman Anil Moolchandani Archies.” 

This strategic move signals the brand's intention to expand into the children's market with a diverse array of merchandise under the AMA brand. The range currently encompasses back-to-school essentials such as school bags and drawing books, as well as a range of soft toys, wall clocks, and cushions.

The initial phase of this merchandise rollout is slated for availability in stores by October 15, 2023, with subsequent additions scheduled for release by December.

Every Archies store will feature an exclusive section dedicated to AMA merchandise products. “The whole idea behind the move was to acquire customers from the 4 to 12 years age group and appeal to that TG through the cartoon character. As when they turn 13-14, they already know the brand,” Moolchandani explains.

According to Free Press Journal, the brand currently possesses 125-140 exclusive outlets, marking a decrease from the previous count of 230. Additionally, the franchise segment comprises 200 outlets.

In the previous fiscal year, the company achieved a turnover of Rs 98 crore, accompanied by a profit of Rs 1.5 crore.

Amid the pandemic, the company encountered challenges due to its heavy reliance on retail operations, significantly impacted by social distancing protocols. Consequently, the brand's market share witnessed a notable impact from online gifting platforms like Ferns N Petals and IGP.

In its bid to capture a new generation of consumers, Archies aims to invest around Rs 15 lakhs in the promotion of AMA, utilising offline stores and social media platforms.

“In the future, we are looking to tie up with a kids' television channel to promote AMA with an animated character through which we can tap into the kid's audience,'' Moolchandani adds.

The brand is actively seeking collaborations with kids’ influencers who cater to the younger demographic, intending to foster the promotion of both the mascot and its merchandise line. 

However, the current focus of the brand doesn't revolve around immediate Return on Investment (ROI). Instead, the primary emphasis lies in meticulously cultivating the image of AMA over the course of the next two years.

Moolchandani further highlighted that during phases 2 and 3 of the launch of merchandising, the company intends to forge partnerships with notable celebrities, to expand their merchandise business. 

The 44-year-old company has established a partnership with Cadbury, marking a substantial joint venture. Through this association, the brand will promote AMA as well. “Through this association, Cadbury products will be available in our stores. It is a big joint venture for the first time, and we will be co-advertising with the brand and a lot of promotions will take place,” he highlights.

In a bid to amplify its presence, the company has recently rolled out a new campaign featuring AMA, timed for the auspicious occasion of Rakhi. Looking ahead, in the forthcoming financial year, the company has outlined plans to introduce television commercials to coincide with Diwali, and Valentine’s Day.

Archies is looking to explore more channels and expand its reach. Through a partnership with Blinkit, a prominent quick commerce platform, the brand aims to deliver its products to consumers within an impressive 10 to 20-minute timeframe.

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