Pringles creative route, from FMCG to fashion and beyond

A propos of mass market brands and their strong influence on the fashion scene, here is a second conversation with Richard Pink, of Pink Key Licensing. After a first roundup of Kellogg’s brand treatment as a pop art icon, this is Pringles turn, another FMCG brand which has reached high results – both in terms of popularity and in royalty business.

Brand Jam: We already discussed with you about how Kellogg’s has become a pop icon used with passion on high street fashion and on catwalks thanks to a pop treatment. Your agency is also the one behind Pringles’ same activations, right?

Richard Pink: Yes – the Pringles brand was bought by Kellogg’s after we were appointed as Kellogg’s European Agent, so we started the licensing programme a few years afterwards. It’s been a slow build but we have had some successes particularly with novelty products and items that replicate the look of the Pringles can. The Helix Pringles pencil case has had worldwide distribution and been in a lot of European retailers, also we’ve had amazing global success with H&M and a range of Pringles apparel, we estimate this range alone was worth about $3m at retail.

B.J.: Logomania trend can have helped Pringles as much as it did with Kelloggs’, but we believe there is much to a brand than its logo. What is your opinion.

R.P.: Oh it’s much more complex than a simple logo! In a similar way to Kellogg’s, the Pringles brand works and many different levels. It also benefits from the Food & Drink trend that seems to be quite prevalent in retailers currently. Also there is a massive depth of artwork and visuals that we are able to give to the licensees to bring the brand alive in a way that simply using the logo doesn’t do. It demonstrates the personality of the character of the brand and gives our licensees much more to play with than simply using the logo.

B.J.: You work with a number of licensees in different categories: what is your experience about their needs in terms of product development?

R.P.: We are very fortunate to have brands that work on many different levels. On one level we are able to go into, for example, the gifting category where replicating the shape of the can (or in the case of the Primark product from last year) the shape of a small carrier that can carry a few Pringles in, but was sold with a pair of socks! On the other hand with the H&M range Pringles as seen very much as a lifestyle brand and this is where the style guide comes into play. So it’s important to have artwork available that will satisfy all of these needs.

B.J.: Pringles refreshed its iconic packaging after 20 years: how this reflects on Pringles’ licensing programme?

R.P.: At the same time that Pringles have changed the packaging they have also provided us with a brand-new style guide that reflects the new direction of not only the look of the brand, but also its position with consumer. The new style guide is really vibrant and colourful but also follows the themes most associated with the brand; this includes gaming, sports, music and seasonal applications such as Christmas and Halloween. There is much more flexibility in the way we can use Mr. P as well which is just brilliant, we think it’s going to make a huge difference to how we are able to take the brand forward.

B.J.: What do you think will be the key categories moving forward?

R.P.: We think Pringles will continue to thrive in apparel and anything to do with lifestyle, but we think that it also lends itself really well to accessories and gifting, particularly around the themes of gaming and music. We are really interested in talking to potential licensees in these areas.