Effies 2010: Contract plays it tough for American Tourister

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 07, 2010
Contract Advertising presented its case for international luggage brand American Tourister and explained its success in the face of competitor and market leader VIP.

A total of 20 case studies were presented by several advertising agencies on Day Two (December 4) at the 10th edition of the Effies, organised by The Advertising Club of Bombay. The presentations were made at the Welingkar Institute of Management, Development and Research, Mumbai. These presentations showcased not just the creativity of the concerned agency but also the relevance of the commercial messages rolled out and the consumer insights used for the same. The Effie Awards recognise excellence in terms of what actually works in the market place at the raw, consumer level.

Contract Advertising India presented its case for the brand American Tourister (Samsonite South Asia). The campaign, titled Survive Mumbai, Survive the World, found a spot in the Consumer Durables category under the 'Others' sub-category.

In India, luggage is almost synonymous with the brand VIP, which has existed for 40 years and enjoys the lion's share of the market (more than 50 per cent). American Tourister needed to make a mark in the luggage industry and went about its creative task in the light of this mammoth challenge.

The brand noted that though VIP had asserted its stand in the pricing and product portfolio arenas, it had left one important spot vacant, that is, the durability proposition. Though the brand (VIP) commanded both TOM (top of mind) and 'top of heart' brand recall for its emotional connect with consumers, its communication played far less on the benefit of durability.

American Tourister took advantage of this fact and positioned the product as a bag that was tough and could survive harsh Indian conditions.

The second leg of the strategy rode on the fact that while VIP is an Indian brand, American Tourister is international. This fact soon melted into the second brand proposition. So, the brand had two main aspects to it - that it was tough, hence durable, and that it was international. The creative task for Contract Advertising was to convey both and what better way to do so than combining the two propositions!

The commercial humorously shows how a foreigner gets pushed around in a crowded local train in Mumbai, all in an effort to keep track of his luggage - which keeps getting tossed and shoved around by the rowdy crowd. The agency drew inspiration from a female intern hailing from France, who threw light on the vulnerability of the foreign traveller in a place such as India.

While natives are all part of the system, harsh realities such as over-crowding and lack of personal space tend to come as a rude shock for visitors. The creative aimed to bring out this very tension and drama, faced by foreigners in India, in its message. The product was positioned as 'tough international luggage'.

The results were overwhelming. While pre-campaign data showed that 28 per cent of Indian consumers associated toughness with American Tourister, post-campaign data revealed that this figure had more than doubled. Similarly, international data showed a similar shift from 39 per cent to a whopping 78 per cent. The latter data seems more relevant as the product targets foreigners touring India.

In terms of sales growth, the campaign did wonders for the brand. Prior to the campaign, the objective was to triple sales; this translated to a 30 per cent growth expectation - the agency claimed so. However, at the end of the campaign, which ran for a meagre two months (October and November), the company saw a 247 per cent growth in sales.

The other agency nominated in this category is JWT for its 'Main Bhi Coach: One team. A Billion Coaches' campaign for Nokia India.

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