The trading cards market in India and the experience of Topps!

Mr. Pravin Kalnawat – Head, Business & Operations, Topps India shares his views on the licensing business in India and some of his plans for Topps India with IndiaLicensingPost.com

1. Most people are familiar with Topps because of its high profile co-owner Michael Eisner former head of Disney Worldwide. Can you give us a little background on Topps and how has the journey in India been thus far?

-Founded in 1938, The Topps Company, Inc. is the pre-eminent creator and brand marketer of physical and digital sports cards, entertainment cards and collectibles, and distinctive confectionery products. Topps’ leading sports and entertainment products include Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, Indian Premier League, Star Wars, WWE, UFC, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, Mars Attacks and other trading cards, sticker album collections and collectibles. Topps’ app portfolio, including Topps BUNT®, Topps NFL HUDDLE®, TOPPS KICK® and Topps® Star WarsSM: Card Trader, has been a hit with millions of fans around the world. Topps’ confectionery brands include Ring Pop®, Push Pop®, Baby Bottle Pop®, Juicy Drop ® Pop, Crunchkins™ and Bazooka® bubble gum.
In India, Topps produces & distributes the major Cricket, WWE & football league-licensed product under the Brand name Cricket Attax, Slam Attax & Match Attax. All the brands are a great hit amongst our TG and provide other brands an alliance opportunity to increase their product sales & movement.
Topps India has its own established distribution network which leads to fast product placement across the nation & across all channels. Our products are available at over 50,000 stores & additionally over all major e-Commerce platforms.

2. How big is the trading cards business globally and in India?

-Its evolving & has good potential to grow! The challenge & opportunity is our consumer base is always new & moving.

3. What has been the major licensing success for Topps in India?
-All our products and licenses have been a huge success amongst young TG & Collectors. Still to name IPL & WWE products launched under the brand name Cricket Attax & Match Attax have been very successful.

4. Can you shed some light on the product portfolio and if any particular SKU’s were launched only in the India market?

-Our product offering in India includes trading cards in the following sports & entertainment categories: IPL, WWE, STAR WARS, PREMIER LEAGUE, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, MINIONS, DISNEY. Basic entry level SKU being a flow pack which usually starts from INR 15/20. All our SKUs are specially produced for India as per consumer demand. Sales of Single Flow pack at INR 15/20 is a very successful India market format. Along with it we have Multi Packs at 99, Carry box with 50 packets at INR 999. Some special SKUs like school tin for cricket, tumbler pack for WWE with official Mugs and then football pack with an exclusive Match Attax football in MA packs

5. How big is the fan base for your product and how have you been able to reach out to them?

-We reach out to over 1 million consumers in India. The base has been developed over a period of time with constant marketing efforts and establishment of a well-spread distribution network.

6. What would you say is the competitive advantage of Topps in India?

-Topps has exclusive trading Cards & sticker production rights for most of the successful licences in the world. Under some licences like IPL Topps offers products exclusively to the young TG with no other comparable licensed product. Topps brand awareness as a leader in World Trading Card Games is immense and brand recall is strong amongst its TG. It’s a great fit for any brand trying to maximise their reach amongst the youth as our product is a collectible and supports repeat purchase of the partner brand. It’s a brand of great repute already accepted by the target audience & parents.

7. You didn’t have any experience in the brand licensing space prior to Pidilite. Was this a boon or a bane? Please share some interesting anecdotes.

-Yes & No both , prior to Pidilite I was with Parker pens , I identified brand strengths, initiated & successfully established the Licensing / Enterprise business.
I believe any licencing opportunity should be seen in terms of VALUE than revenue to maximize business potential.