Samsonite's timely ad urges the working class to travel to vote

By Deepashree Banerjee , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital
Published : April 22, 2019 04:45 AM
In an election-themed spot, luggage brand Samsonite takes up a relevant cause and implores youngsters to vote, even if it means taking a day off from work and travelling.

It's not very often that we see a mainline article working as a germinator for a full-fledged digital campaign. As reported by the Hindu Business Line in an article published in early March, a study titled 'Urban Migrants: the silent spectators of Indian elections?' was conducted among 1100 plus individuals, mostly in their 20s and living in metropolitan cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, and NCR. The article also stated that Nestaway Technologies, a managed home-rental platform, revealed that as many as 91 per cent of urban migrants are not registered as voters in the cities where they currently reside.

We catch up with Pradnya Popade, marcom head, Samsonite South Asia on the brand's recent outing, its -#EkDinKiChutti - digital campaign. She tells us how it all started from the Hindu Business Line article published in March.

Pradnya Popade Pradnya Popade

What got her attention in the script presented to her by the agency was the part about our "duty to vote" rather than "our right to vote". The film went live on April 10 and the team was only left with 14 days to make the campaign live. "Once we finalised the script, it was a herculean task to decide on the shoot location, cast, costumes, six different locations within a town, as per the script requirement etc. We had just three days to finalise pre-production requirements," she recalls.

The team zeroed in on Tier 2 cities from the beginning. "To decide on the town which could depict that there is a migrant who has settled in an urban city but who loves the nuances of his home town and has a strong emotional connect with it, we had three different teams going to different towns simultaneously to save time," Popade outlines.

In the premium luggage and business bags category, the brand has been growing at the rate of 15-18 per cent every year.

When asked about the lead medium of communication, she shares that impactful media at the main metro airports is the lead medium the brand uses, followed by digital media. "TV is the least used medium for this target audience as they are always on the move," she adds.

Sharing her thoughts on the marketing money across media platforms and the break-up of the media pie for this recent campaign, Popade says, "The film had to do justice to the script/idea and the message needed personal attention, therefore, digital and social media, especially Twitter, WhatsApp and LinkedIn were the strong platforms to communicate this message," she signs off.

Bodh Deb Bodh Deb

Bodh Deb, vice president and branch head at Autumn Worldwide, doesn't shy away from admitting that as the creative team behind the campaign, they considered the general elections as another topical opportunity.

Interestingly, as the team brainstormed to find a real insight for the election campaign, Deb confesses that they soon realised that none of them had the moral high-ground to speak on the subject. "All of us had migrated to another city for work and had never made a real effort to go back home to cast our vote like the way we make an effort to go back home every year during festivals. Instantly, we knew that we hit upon an insight that will strike a chord with millions like us," he explains.

Soon after, the creative folks quickly wrote five-six scripts based on the insight and the team finally shortlisted two before freezing on the #EkDinKiChutti script.

"We presented the idea to the client on March 26 in the morning and the campaign went live on the morning of April 10. It was 15 days of non-stop madness," Deb sums up.

He also shares how the team braved a tight deadline and worked on a gruelling schedule to shoot the film - "The entire project was challenging primarily because we were always running out of time. Most of the film has been shot in Rishikesh. We considered Amritsar initially, but eventually went ahead with Dehradun and Rishikesh as we got permission from the Dehradun Airport Authorities to shoot the airport scene in the start of the film. We had to rush into every planning and production stage without any preparation whatsoever."

The most interesting anecdote he discussed was actually the most nerve-racking moment for the entire team. "On the first day of the shoot, we realised that the actor we hired from Mumbai to play the protagonist's role was actually not the right fit. Though we felt bad about the actor, we knew we had to take the hard call for the sake of the film. Luckily, our director Deepti Nagia had already planned for a talented local actor as an emergency back-up to play the role," Deb shares candidly.

Nail or fail? Over to the experts:

KS Chax, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Tidal7 Brand and Digital, was more than happy to be reviewing an ad he could give an unqualified thumbs-up to. He says, "It's a topical subject and not yet overdone. It is also a great brand fit - who better suited to urge people to travel than Samsonite?"

Talking of execution, he states, "The way the film stresses that it is a trip for just one day, leaving no time for all the things one absolutely has to do on a holiday home, helps build the drama quite well."

KS Chax KS Chax

Samir Datar Samir Datar

"The detailing is again spot on, every little episode well captured, every character impeccably cast. The words are crafted well, the voice over fits perfectly, and the very judicious use of the song is handled beautifully. The suitcase is integrated absolutely perfectly, never feeling forced, but right there in our faces right through the film."

So does he have an agenda here? Can a creative guy actually be this unreservedly fulsome in his praise of another agency's work?

"Well, just to keep my credibility intact, let me touch upon the one false note, i.e. scene, that jars in an otherwise perfect film. The exchange with the soldier feels forced, the dialogue there is corny and the acting is terrible. But you know what? It doesn't matter. The film is good enough to be forgiven the solitary stumble", he adds.

On the other hand, as opposed to Tata Tea's "Jaago re" or the Times of India's Initiative for "Lost Vote', this communication doesn't quite have the strength to encourage people to vote, feels Samir Datar, head of Strategy, Hakuhodo India.

Although it is a great way to connect the brand with travel, he thinks the brand lost out on a huge opportunity. "It could have been a movement - people across the country travelling just so they can exercise their right. Also, it would have been a way to show their range (product plug is equally important!). I believe an overnighter or a backpack would have been a far better fit for this communication," he opines. However, he is doubtful if it will get the millennials motivated.

ALSO READ: "'s about how everybody can bring Kerala back on its feet without charity or sounding preachy.": Anushree Tainwala, Samsonite

Client: Samsonite India
Agency: Autumn Grey
Founder & CEO: Anusha Shetty
Co-Founder & Director: Abhay Rajankar
Insight & Campaign Idea by: Bodh Deb
Story, Script & Campaign hashtag by: Nishant Ananthram
Agency Campaign Team: Ambica Bhatnagar, Rugvedi Joshi, Nishant Sethi, Harish Iyengaar,
Yashas Patel, Soumyadeep Ghosh, Deepak Puttaramaiah, Kaveri Ganiger, Kruthika R. Kumar,
Radhika Ajgaonkar, Anup Bale, Mithun Cotha, Rakesh Siddaramaiah
Production House: Momomoto Studios
Executive Producer: Momo & Moto
Director: Deepti Nagia
Creative Producer: Tushar Sadashiv Shivan
Cinematographer: Anend C. Chandran
AC & Gaffer: Sumesh KM
AD: Vishal Chaudhary, Swati, Subhashish
Costume Stylist: Uttam & Chetan
Cast: Suraj Negi, Vibhor Gupta, Varun Singh, Subhash Chandra Tyagi, Bhupendra Taneja

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