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Wednesday, Dec 29, 2004

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When a card's in your mouth

IF WORDS fail you and you are feeling too choked to express your feelings, let greeting cards speak for you this season. They might do a better job of conveying exactly how you feel. Just be smart enough to pick the right card.

Cards came to our lives only some years back, but have made a special place in the hearts of urbanites, ever since.

Archies Limited, a front-runner in the Indian card manufacturing industry, made its foray way back in 1979. Starting with motley posters, songbooks, the company came out with its first set of formal greeting cards within two years.

Citing reasons for the escalating love of greeting cards, Pramod Arora, Executive Director, says, "Each year the celebrations are more. For instance, in Christmas, the spirit of the festivity has moved beyond the Christian homes. Even non-Christians are decorating their homes and purchasing gifts. Due to the advent of malls, cards and other related gifts too have got a sales boost. There is lot of impulse buying in the malls, and even children are purchasing cards these days. Once a child buys a card, he would keep on buying, year after year, just out of habit."

For Archies, the major challenge came not from other card manufacturers but from technically advanced gizmos - SMS, online greeting cards and the email craze.

Acquiesces Arora, "In the last four years there has been a decline in the purchase of physical cards." However, he strongly feels the trend will be reversed because, "The fad is over and online greeting card sites are now paid sites, so the traffic of e-cards has declined."

Friendship Day cards are indigenous to Archies. So is `My Car Day', recently launched in collaboration with Maruti Udyog Limited on the latter's 21st anniversary.

The tie-up with Helpage India is 16 years old, and for the past three years there is a tie-up with CRY. "There is a huge demand for these cards in the corporate sector," affirms Arora. Offering some healthy competitions is ITC which has launched 500 new designs for Christmas and New Year greeting cards in Hindi, English and Marathi. In addition, consumers can also get a surprise gift in the festive season under the Expressions Scratch-a-Surprise offer. The Christmas collection has 135 designs in the price range of Rs.5 to 85 while the New Year range offers 385 designs in the price range of Rs.5 to 175.


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