From Bond to Batwheels: Frank Tiessen, President of Carrera Revell Of Americas, discusses new brand collaborations
Frank, thanks for making time. Carrera celebrates its 60th birthday this year! What would you say is key to the company’s enduring success?
Right from establishing the brand and the release of the first product, Carrera was able to gather a lot of traction and a huge fanbase. This started back in the 60s – mostly in the German speaking countries – where our brand name became synonymous with slot car racing. From there, it spread around the world to make Carrera the number one slot car brand.
But our brand and product ranges never stayed stagnant and always developed further with new licenses and fresh technologies, branching out into new scales, different themes or adding completely new categories – like our high-quality radio control products.
Digging into that a little further, what do you see as the most important evolution Carrera has gone in its 60 years?
Carrera as a brand has always adapted to the market environments throughout our 60-year history and, more often than not, at the forefront of new technology in our segment. The most significant evolution – if you want to call it that – was probably a relatively recent one, when our company merged with Revell. The brands with their legacy, reputation and fanbase complement each other perfectly.
You recently announced a collaboration with NASCAR that will come into play next year. Why did the NASCAR brand appeal?
We are extremely excited that we finally will be able to offer NASCAR branded products to our fanbase. We will launch cars and sets – all featuring the dominant Team Hendricks drivers – in 2024.
The tagline for our brand is ‘Motorsports At Home’ and we definitely are with our Formula 1, DTM and GT sets and cars – but our company is called Carrera Revell of AMERICAS… Emphasis on the last word! With that, we obviously need the NASCAR brand in our portfolio! NASCAR is the number one motorsport in the USA and has an appeal and fanbase throughout all ethnicities, genders and age groups.
Sticking with licensing, a Batwheels set is launching under the Carrera 1st banner soon. From a design point of view, what is the key to creating Carrera 1st sets that resonate with much younger consumers?
The key is, of course, that kids love the character the set is based on. But it’s also important that we don’t just ‘slap’ a label onto something that has nothing to do with our play pattern. There needs to be a relationship between the license and vehicle play.
Absolutely. Speaking of which, on the Revell front, you’ll be launching model kits around James Bond and Stranger Things in 2024. What does an IP need to have to suit a Revell model kit?
It definitely needs to have a fanbase that overlaps with the general demographics that are interested in model kits – or it has the strength to attract completely new people into this hobby. With Bond and Stranger Things, we probably have both of these very well represented.
As well as championing these upcoming lines, we also like exploring ‘forgotten’ gems here at Mojo too… What would you say has been Carrera’s most underrated product launch? We can give it the limelight here!
Maybe it’s not a ‘forgotten’ product – because we still have it in our range – but our line called Build’n Race was, and is, underrated.
Build’n Race is a segment of our Carrera GO!!! Range which offers compatibility with plastic building blocks – like the one from that big company everyone knows! – so you can build your own cars and environments around the racetrack. We got lots of great reviews for the line, and it did well, but never had the big impact we hoped for and expected.
It looks fantastic. Thanks again Frank – let’s tie-in again soon.
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