afaqs!

Samsonite brings on Contract as creative partner

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 07, 2009
For Samsonite, it will be a new journey. After eight years with TBWA, the change in the creative duties is accompanied by a decision on the anvil to take up television advertising

Samsonite India, an established name in the organised luggage space, has assigned the creative duties for two of its luggage brands - Samsonite and American Tourister - to Contract Advertising. The win for the agency comes in the wake of a multi-agency pitch which was called for, following the end of the global relationship of Samsonite with its eight year old creative partner, TBWA.

Talking to afaqs!, Sudip Ghose, director, marketing, Samsonite South Asia reveals that traditionally, the brand has been present where the consumer seeks travel - mostly at airports and outdoors. "Travel is on top of your mind and if a brand talks at that time, it registers far quicker," he says.

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However, this year, the brand is looking at widening its advertising to include television advertising, too. Internationally, the brand is present on television. In India, as a premium brand not targeted at the masses, it chose to remain away from television advertising.

If one recalls, VIP recently sprung back on television last year, roping in Shahid Kapur as its brand ambassador. Is Samsonite's plan to take up television advertising a result of this development? Ghose disagrees.

"Samsonite and VIP, clearly being the leaders, don't need to advertise. However, at some point of time, every brand has to advertise - not to push sales but to garner top of the mind recall."

Ghose brings out that 'Indianised' campaigns will be released in India, in line with the global campaigns, by retaining an international and premium kind of advertising.

TBWA partnered Samsonite for eight years on the creative front, in between which O&M came on board for a short while of about six months - after which the account moved back to TBWA.

Samsonite India's luggage brands include two main brands - American Tourister, which is designed as a brand for mid-level managers, and Samsonite, which has three sub-brands. These are Samsonite Black Label (for top level executives), Timberland and Lacoste Luggage.

Ghose reveals that one will get to see a lot of Timberland this year on the shelves, and the brand aims to be taken into the communication space aggressively next year. Lacoste, however, is a highly premium segment and the company has no plans for communication on the brand.

Apart from luggage, Samsonite India is also present in the footwear and accessories space. In terms of revenue generation, luggage contributes to almost 90 per cent of its revenue, followed by footwear (6 per cent) and accessories (4 per cent).

Samsonite stepped into India in 1997. It brought its accessory business to India five years ago, and is about three years old in the footwear segment.

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