VIP: On a light note to happiness

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 04, 2010
Taking a new approach in its communication, VIP Industries has chosen animation to position itself as a happy companion to the traveller

'Happy Journey' is a phrase often heard as one packs luggage to set out on a holiday. VIP Industries takes the phrase a little too seriously, with it also being the tagline of the brand. Right at the offset of the vacation season, the brand has come up with a new campaign to take forward the message.

VIP attempts to position itself as a youthful and a lively brand in its latest TV commercial for Superlite, a new range of lightweight strolleys.

& #BANNER1 & #

"In our previous campaign, we tried to contemporise the brand and make it more youthful. We achieved that purpose to an extent as we tied up with young celebrities. We wanted to do more and connect further with our consumers. We were looking at a fresh approach, which the creative agency came up with eventually," says Manish Vyas, vice-president, marketing, VIP Industries.

The commercial, created by Publicis Ambience, shows an animated protagonist tugging along a VIP strolley and helping people on the way. The features of strength and light weight of the product are interestingly woven into the story. The ad ends with the protagonist flying into the air, pulled by his light luggage.

The TVC has been directed by Vinod Iyer. The production house is Lemon Yellow Sun. The copywriter is Ashish Khazanchi, vice-chairperson, Publicis Ambience and the art directors are Akash Das and Ashish Phatak.

The agency was briefed to re-energise the brand and enhance its relevance in the lives of the younger Indian consumer, without having to compromise on the core brand values, and distinguish itself from competition.

"We wanted to shift the way the brand is seen. The shift was from a grey world to a happier and a friendlier one. When we Indians travel, we look forward to it with a sense of optimism. We wanted to capture that feeling of happiness in the commercial," says Khazanchi.

He says that the commercial serves a dual purpose, with the message working for both the sub-brand and the VIP umbrella brand at the same time.

"It is the theme message of the entire brand. The theme of 'Happy Journey' remains the same. VIP is the happy companion of the traveller," says Vyas.

On the use of animation, Vyas suggests that this is the first in the category after other youth brands that have used it successfully in their campaigns. He adds that if the consumer reactions are favourable, animation could be extended to future campaigns as well.

According to Khazanchi, the message of happiness is better conveyed through animation rather than regular characters in a television commercial.

Besides television, VIP has carried out extensive in-store merchandising and posters in its exclusive and multi-brand outlets. Branding has also been done at point of travel, on conveyor belts at airports, Jet Airways' baggage tags, IRCTC tickets and in-flight and in-store magazines.

While Vyas refused to comment on the exact ad spends, he indicated that spends would be 40-50 per cent higher than 2009.

Maxus is the media agency.

Happy notes

The commercial has been well received by the fraternity and the creative thought has met with a word of approval from most, who think that it is a welcome change from VIP's earlier commercials.

"Personally, I like the commercial a lot. I like it for the fact that it is a style and execution that one did not expect from VIP. It is international and works well to push up the brand image. I also like it for the timing of its new line of luggage - just when the holiday season is about to start and with the travel market picking up steam," says Prathap Suthan, national creative director, Cheil Worldwide.

Adrian Mendonza, national creative director, Dentsu Marcom agrees with Suthan.

"It is a very interesting and genuine idea, which is the most important thing in a communication. It is pretty different from the previous commercials of the brand. The idea of VIP as a source of happiness is very interestingly done. This could help the brand progress far better and is something that could be further extended into a series," he says.

Suthan adds that the added layer of 'go-gooder' in the film is also noteworthy.

"The film is all about the animated character which helps people on the way. The way product strengths of lightness and strength have been built into the story is interesting, light, subtle and not in your face," he says.

However, both Suthan and Mendonza have certain reservations.

Mendonza is of the view that while animation can get far more eyeballs by sheer way of differentiation and works very well if used effectively, the animation in the VIP commercial could have been a lot "classier".

Suthan, too, expresses his doubts over the animation.

"I think the animation style might not go well and connect with the average aspirational traveller. It may be a little too retro for their liking. Unless the animation style is something that looks overtly premium to the intended target audience, there is a possibility that they may misinterpret the style," he says.

"However, while TUMI and Victorinox owning travellers could get it and appreciate the held back styling of the animation, VIP certainly is not the brand of luggage that they would wheel," Suthan adds.

He adds that Superlite as a new brand name should have been more visible; it was a bit hard to distinguish if it was the regular range of the brand or an entirely new one.