Formed in 1891 and headquartered in Chicago, Wrigley is among the world’s best known chewing gum and confectionery companies. The company operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, a private, family-owned company founded in 1911. It has been over 110 years that the company first introduced its first two products, Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint gum, and now its brands are sold in over 180 countries. Wrigley India was formed in 2004, and this year, the company made its first decisive move to associate with Indian cricket by announcing its partnership with the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams. This makes Wrigley the first and only company to have a sponsorship tie-up with all the eight franchise teams of the IPL for the second edition of the T-20 tournament, which kicked off in South Africa on April 18. In this interview to Malabika Sarkar of FE, Himanshu Khanna, marketing director, Wrigley India, talks about the company’s product portfolio in India and its expectations from the IPL.
How has the general economic slowdown affected Wrigley? And what is the significance of the IPL deal at this point in time?
The gum category in India is growing at a healthy 20%. Partnering with all eight IPL teams is a great move for Wrigley. Chewing gums and cricket make a great fit. Keeping that in mind we have gone ahead with this association. It definitely is a win-win situation for both the parties involved. Wrigley does benefit by the attraction each team has and it also provides a platform for the teams to reach out to consumers via our special packs, jars and trading cards. These special packs will provide the consumers, across age group and cities, an experience to touch, feel and see cricket.
For Indians, cricket is religion, it is a part of their everyday life; thus our association with cricket fits well with the vision of our company.
How important is the Indian gum market for you in comparison to, say, the US, Russia or even China, where you have fantastic sales?
India is a very important for Wrigley. We look at India not only from the perspective of our current sales, but also from the future potential. In India, the per capita consumption of gum is only eight pieces per year, which is small compared with markets like the US, where it is as high as 200 pieces per year.
Can you share your sales