‘Stumpy’ makers hope to sell entire stock of cuddly mascot

By Radhika Bhirani, IANS
Monday, February 21, 2011

NEW DELHI - ‘Stumpy’, the cuddly little blue mascot for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, is set to become the newest rage among people, says manufacturing company Simba Toys which expects to sell all of the 160,000 pieces produced for the Indian market.

“We produced 160,000 units just for India. With millions of cricket fans in the country, the number is not so big. So, we want to sell all 160,000 pieces of Stumpy in India, and we are confident we will sell all of them,” Pradeep Pramar, business head, Simba Toys India Pvt. Ltd, told IANS in an interview.

Almost a third or 50,000 pieces have already been sold.

Embodying vibrancy with its bright blue colour and energy with its mischievous expression, and action of throwing a ball, Stumpy was conceived by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to commemorate 10 years of the ICC World Cup. The contract for manufacturing the toy was given to the Simba Dickie Group in early 2010, after which production began in China in June last year.

The company is hoping to cash in on its “cute” look.

“Stumpy is 10 years old and looks like a mischievous, naughty young boy, full of action. From the day we had it in its final form and started showing it to people around, the reaction was always: ‘It’s cute!’,” said Pramar.

“We tried producing Stumpy in India, but we weren’t getting good enough quality up to the international standards that ICC demanded. We received the product in October, and it went to the markets on Jan 20.”

And if India wins, the company has new plans.

“If India wins, then production of Stumpy will be extended or we will do a victory version of Stumpy,” said Pramar.

Though the buzz around Stumpy has been quite low, Pramar is hopeful that sales will now catch up soon - especially since the mascot got a good show at the opening ceremony in Dhaka Thursday.

The toy is available in four sizes - seven inches, 10 inches, 17 inches and 24 inches, priced at Rs.299, Rs.499, Rs.999 and Rs.2,499 respectively. It is available at most general toy stores and retail chains like Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, Lifestyle and Landmark in India.

This apart, the sales have also been planned through the online medium.

“We are more into the traditional retail segment. However, we thought with a mascot, it would be better to also sell online as a lot of people follow cricket online nowadays when in office. There are a lot of cricket sites where they show live matches and we think it can have a huge connectivity with the age group of 18-30 years, who are more tech-savvy,” said Pramar.

Simba Toys has also entered into an exclusive partnership with home shopping channel HomeShop18, which is offering many other deals on cricket merchandise around the ongoing World Cup.

“Cricket gets a phenomenal response from India. We are just fuelling the passion in our fans through exclusive fan gear, by offering ICC merchandise at value propositions and by launching World Cup contest especially for our Facebook fans. In our effort to reach out to the cricket lovers directly, we are delighted to associate with Simba Toys,” said Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, HomeShop18.

Nevertheless, Pramar still believes the concept of mascots is quite nascent in India.

“I think it’s a concept which is very well established in the US, Europe, Australia and other Western countries. It has been there since a lot of years. FIFA merchandise is huge abroad. In India, as the retail is growing, as disposable income is growing, people are getting used to it.

“The World Cup is now a good exercise for us as a company and for the market to gain knowledge about what happens…Does it sell? Or is the Indian consumer still waiting and will take at least another few years to get used to it?” he said.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

Filed under: Cricket

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