For nearly 84 years Juniors, American Tourister globally had let its travel-gear be the hero of its campaigns. Now it has decided to break the rule and got a celebrity on board for the first time in its history anywhere in the world – the Indian cricketer Virat Kohli on-board as its face. Why has India’s single largest travel gear brand and the second largest in the world (after Samsonite) decided to go for a celebrity? After all its not needed one since it was founded in 1933 by Sol Koffler in Rhode Island and later acquired by Samsonite in 1993. As per Anushree Tainwala, executive director – marketing, Samsonite South Asia, a celebrity will help in moving the brand towards its goals faster – on making American Tourister the only choice, across the country (in towns big or small), for all those who aspire to international styling and yet be affordable.
The luggage category has undergone a sharp shift, with Indian travelers increasingly applying a more global outlook on what they want to carry. Says Tainwala, “Travel gear needs to match these travel aspirations.” The customers are expanding their choice of bags from transitional suitcases to spinners Shoes, from soft luggage to hard luggage, from luggage to rucksacks and overnighter backpacks. The scope of what we call luggage has expanded, she adds. It is in this backdrop that the luggage brand has launched the full-fledged campaign Sweaters. The brand enjoys around 30% market share in the organised market and has been growing at 10%-12% over the past few years Accessories, with an expected growth rate that could well be more than 20%.
The brand had been on the lookout for a celebrity with the perfect brand-connect. The celeb had to be a young and an international superstar, someone who is undoubtedly the best in his or her field and is ubiquitously admired in the subcontinent, cutting across the gender, income brackets and regional divide, she says. And Virat Kohli seemed to be the only choice in this context, in her view for the recently launched brand campaign. Going by the prolific rate at which Kohli has been hobnobbing with brands, an obvious question is about whether his ubiquity will be a concern area? As per Tainwala while this is definitely a concern it is true for almost any real celebrity in the country. We hope to overcome this with our clutter breaking creative and media spends, she adds.
The 360-degree campaign is created by McCann Worldgroup India and includes, a TVC with multiple sequences. The TVC ‘I’m Ready’ depicts what the backpacks provide to the user, with a balance of hands-free mobility and comfort. As per the agency’s National Creative Director Pradyumna Chauhan, the campaign reflects the buoyant mood of the country with people wanting to undertake journeys Exercise & Fitness. In whatever journey people undertake these bags are shown as the allies, is the core thought, he adds. The choice of Kohli was as imperative as the core thought of the campaign, in Chauhan’s view.