Pink Key reveals why the Pringles brand is going from strength to strength

You are the licensing agent for the new Pringles licensing programme, can you tell us a bit about this deal?

We had a reasonably good BLE 2015, and we are off to a good start in terms of licensees. We have somebody doing the hard tin boxes, we have got Gibsons who are doing jigsaws and we have got a couple of apparel licenses. For example, we have Sodirep, and Roy Lowe who are already doing socks.

What we’re trying to do is build out on that in terms of things like gifting, and accessories. So we’re trying to spread the word in terms of the brand, because obviously the Pringles brand doesn’t actually need a huge amount of awareness because everybody knows Pringles – it’s a massive brand, and it’s going from strength to strength.

But in terms of licensing it, what we’re trying to do is get the industry at large aware of the licensing programme. Because it’s a Kellogg’s brand, it’s effectively the next step on from part of the Kellogg’s programme as well. So we are going to be doing a bit of marketing throughout this year to try and promote the whole idea of the licensing programme, because it’s a really strong brand.

It’s got some fantastic graphics in the style guide as well, so we’re really pleased with it, and some of the licensees that we have got are doing some really nice things with the brand, and we can afford to be quite flexible with it too, so there’s a lot that can be done.

What do you have in store for the brand?

We’re going to be doing more around brand licensing and trade advertising, but we’re also going to be sponsoring one of the new brand licensing awards as well in June.

From a programme point of view, the Kellogg’s Vintage License is quite established and we have got fairly good coverage in terms of most categories across most of the territories in Europe now, and it’s a matter of building on the back of that and bringing Pringles up to the same kind of level of coverage.

Pringles is a well-known brand, what makes it so successful and popular?

I think it’s really well positioned as a brand in terms of its target market. It’s an occasion type brand that’s really sociable. Pringles is renowned as a fun brand, and a brand that people enjoy eating if people are gathering together. There are all sorts of things you can do with it, obviously the shape’s quite distinctive as well, and people can have lots of fun with the brand, as well as eating it.

So what we try to do with the licensing programme and the style guide is try to reflect that, because it’s on trend, and it’s an up to date brand. Although a portion of the style guide is dedicated to the heritage of it, really it’s about the here and now, and it’s about being right on trend with things like sport and music. 

How many licensees do you have on board for Pringles so far?

We have five so far, and we’re looking to expand on that hugely. There are a lot of areas we haven’t covered yet, and there’s a massive opportunity in things like gifting. And there’s certainly more to do in terms of apparel.

For example, we had some really good listings earlier on with Primark particularly on the nightwear and socks, and we’re just beginning to get some traction in Europe with things like our storage tins, but there’s an awfully long way to go. We’re in it for the long term with Pringles, because the brand isn’t going anywhere, it’s going to be around for a long time and we’re hoping that the licensing is going to be doing the very same thing.

What do you see the future of the Pringles brand being like? What does 2016 have in store?

We want to sign a few more licensees and just establish it in Europe, I think. There are a few key areas that we have targeted, as I said before, gifting is a key area for us, but there’s a lot more that we can do with apparel.

There’s also a very interesting area we are going to be looking at in terms of how we can get product that actually interacts with the brand. But it’s early days, like I say we have only got five licensees but it’s only just started, and we have got scope to do a huge amount more with it. 

What do you look for in a licensing partner?

What we look for is somebody who’s going to love the brand as much as we do, and is really looking to invest in developing the brand over the period of the contract. We also look for somebody who has got the broadest distribution that we can possibly get.

I’m not interested in signing a massive proliferation of licensees, I would rather work with fewer licensees with the broadest possible distribution, people who can get us into the places where the brand sits very well, so for Pringles that’s very much mass market.

But also, probably the most important thing from a licensing point of view is people who are creative with it. The style guide is designed so that there’s a lot of flexibility for our licensees’ creative departments to play around with the brand. That’s really what we’re after, we want somebody who’s going to take the brand on and develop it in the right way.

What does the New Year hold for Pink Key? Will you be looking to add any more brands to your licensing portfolio?

Very much so, and we’re having a few discussions at the moment with some really interesting brands that could develop into some very good programmes.

I don’t take on brands unless I feel that I’m going to still be working on them for the next 25 years, that’s the benchmark I have. I would hope to sign up at least one of those in the next two or three months, and come up with portfolios with things that would sit well with the properties that I’ve already got.

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