Sohini Sen

VIP Bags: For the travel-hearted

VIP's new campaign, created by McCann Erickson, showcases its new collection of bags which is not just trendy and fun, but strong enough to support anyone's travel plans.

When the heart wants to travel, who are we to stop it? This seems to be the thought behind VIP Industries' latest campaign for its brand VIP. Taking the simple question, 'Where do you want to go', the brand has brought out a travel-themed film which has been directed by Vikas Bahl.

The film showcases a young girl who is packing her bags to go for her first Europe trip with friends. Not a big deal, until it is revealed that she is visually challenged. Her grandfather is seen worrying about her well-being, but the young lady is confident. Because, as she says, just because she cannot 'see' doesn't mean she cannot 'see the world'. The expression of seeing the world has been portrayed beyond just the visual experience in the film.

VIP Bags: For the travel-hearted
The film also showcases the brand's new 2015 collection. The brand has tied up with Make a Wish Foundation of India. As a part of this association, every month, VIP will sponsor the travel wishes of children suffering from life-threatening diseases.

Radhika Piramal, managing director, VIP Industries, says, "We believe that every individual would like to travel irrespective of their socio-economic or health condition, as travel brings joy and experience of a different kind. This campaign is all about urging people to travel and explore. Therefore, apart from exhibiting our new collection, we aim to convey an important message of travel through this campaign. 'Where do you want to go?' is an inspirational and emotional concept close to my heart. We hope that people are motivated to travel by watching this campaign."

VIP has always been on the consumer's mind when it comes to travel luggage in India. But, while the sturdy idea has stuck on, the brand felt the need to reconnect with consumers, considering the competitive market. The new range from VIP is aimed at showcasing the brand in a more contemporary way and not as a brand that appeals only to parents.

VIP Bags: For the travel-hearted
VIP Bags: For the travel-hearted
"The brief for us was more than just an objective, it was not linear. While we wanted to engage with people through modern forms of storytelling, we also wanted to showcase that the brand has moved to so much more. The new collection, if you walk into any VIP store, is trendy, brightly coloured, not to mention the technological progress with the bags becoming lighter, easier to turn etc. All this while still being sturdy," explains Pradyumna Chauhan, national creative director, McCann Erickson.

The idea is to show that VIP bags are strong and sturdy, and can let anyone travel around the world, easily. The campaign will be amplified across print, radio, television and digital.

Prasoon Joshi, chairman, McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific & CEO McCann India, says, "'Where do you want to go?' is an attempt to portray the change in the new confident India through the differently-abled, whilst subtly displaying the new collection of VIP. This creative thought is built around celebrating the new emotions around the journeys that Indians are undertaking, and the story of the blind girl as a protagonist is a creative metaphor which represents the emotions of a new & bolder India that is forging ahead. The entire team has stayed true to VIP as a luggage brand which has always remained part of Indian popular culture, and this commercial represents its contemporary role in the Indian society."

Was featuring a visually-challenged girl to showcase the new and improved bags necessary or is the brand just following the trend of making films centred on differently-bled/extraordinary people (such as the stutterer in Nescafe's ad, the cancer survivor in the Vatika ad, the autistic boy in Birla Sun Life or the short father in Tata AIA's film).

We asked a few ad guys for their opinions.

VIP Bags: For the travel-hearted
VIP Bags: For the travel-hearted
According to Divyapratap Mehta, former national planning director, Publicis Capital and founder, Intertwined, the execution is charming. "The little angle of a blind girl travelling to see the world is a nice cut to get audience's attention and recall. The chances of the ad building awareness and empathy for the brand are high. Purely as a single execution, it might be effective. However, I still feel the brand needs a serious rethink on a differentiating strategy," he says.

The challenge for VIP, as per Mehta, is to give the consumer a reason to choose them over other international brands like Samsonite or American Tourister, and create a differentiated space. "This kind of positioning - promoting travel - is what most players in the category are doing. Plus, this could also be done by a travel portal or any other travel brand. It does not have any role of the brand or category in it," he observes.

While the idea of a blind girl who wants to travel seems lovely to Sabuj Sengupta, ECD, Hakuhodo Percept, the execution looks fake.

"If VIP wants to be a young and fun brand, there are infinite ways to do it. Why the family? They should have stuck to friends only; friends travelling is a rich space. The ad still has a family setting and does not give a cool youth vibe. Am not sure if this ad will mark a clear shift in the brand's positioning. I wish there was a more endearing story," Sengupta states.

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