Anil Thakraney: To Archies. With love

04 Jul,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Makers of Archies greeting cards have made a sensational announcement: They have a brand new logo! Wow! Can’t wait to hit their store! Am sure there’s a stampede out there!!


Just kidding, of course. If there’s one product category that continues to disappoint me, it’s these festive cards, a category in which Archies is the market leader. These cards have got stuck in time, the design is the same old boring eighties stuff, and the messages seem to be written by juvenile delinquents and/or a group of really bored housewives. Each time I’ve dropped by at the Archies outlet, I have struggled very, very hard to find one single witty and sparkling card. It’s always the same rubbish: ‘Dear Husband, you mean the world to me, I will love you for the rest of my life.’ ‘Dear Mother, you are the best mom in the world, you make me happy.’ And this nonsense relentlessly goes on.


Isn’t it amazing that people continue to buy this cheesy trash? Especially in these days of e-cards and social media? Why does it happen? The answer is quite simple, and it’s this human quirk that has helped Archies thrive despite years of staggering mediocrity. People, especially women, like the personal touch of a hard copy card, they don’t much care for the e-card. They appreciate the fact that someone they love made the effort and spent the time to buy them a special card. So what if the card itself sucks, that’s not really important. The gesture is.


And it is this human quirk which has helped the card maker amass a lot of money without ever ploughing some back into improving the product. Thing is, I wonder how long this affection for a hard copy card last. As the generation changes, many Indians would smoothly switch to the internet for greeting each other, and be quite happy using that medium. And that would mean a quiet death for Archies cards.


Dear Archies, there are enough very talented designers and writers in this nation. Please loosen your purse strings and spend some money on content and design. That alone will assure a future for you. A cosmetic logo change certainly won’t.


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PS: Don’t we often land up on a page that does not exist? When that damned ‘404 ERROR’ warning springs up? Well, some designers have decided to sex up that dull and un-inviting page. And the results are great fun. So much better to spend energies on this than indulge in fake ads to win awards.




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