Reviewer: Josy Paul

Interesting: Josy Paul.


Contract Advertising’s new American Tourister Survive the World commercial shows a tourist caught in traffic on the way to the airport. He takes out his skateboard, and with his American Tourister in tow, breezes through the Jodhpur terrain. He’s in time to catch the flight. Tag line: The tough international baggage!

First thoughts on the advertisement?

Sharp: India’s traffic conditions are used to make a functional point.

What would you have done differently with the ad?

The ad is good. I wouldn’t change much. Maybe, I would just add nuances to make the film more watchable. For example, I would add a funny moment where a jaywalker casually stops the rushing hero to ask him, “Bhai-saab, time kya hua (Brother, what’s the time)?" Or the ending could be that he lands up at the airport to find that the flight is delayed because the pilots are on strike! The music is upbeat, but I would look at the track differently. Instead of the Indian folksy sound, I would consider the jugalbandi of a thousand drums—the rising battle of war beats will help enhance the rough and tough of Indian travel.

What do you think of American Tourister’s brand positioning?

The brand has been toeing the “toughness" line for as long as I can remember. Consistency is a good thing, I guess. It’s a simple sharp position that says—It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (Now, where have I heard that before?)

Are there enough clutter-breaking ads in the category, with Samsonite’s ‘Step Out’ ad, etc?

Luggage is not the most important thing on my mind. But travel definitely is. So Samsonite’s Step Out is more in sync with the current sentiment. The delivery of the Samsonite ad is more contemporary—both in tone and style. Luggage is fast becoming a badge. There are lifestyle, fashion and social symbols attached to it. Like your car, luggage too runs on wheels! So it’s good to borrow from the automobile category.

Any international ad in the same category that you loved?

There’s a print ad I saw at Cannes this year, done by JWT Shanghai for Samsonite. It’s titled Heaven and Hell. It won the Grand Prix in print and poster at Cannes this year. I can’t describe it, it’s a visual experience.

What about a retro ad in the same category?

Check out the American Tourister commercial done in 1970. The film is about the savage handling of a suitcase when it’s dropped into a chimp’s cage. You’ll find it on YouTube. It’s an absolute classic. It reportedly changed the fortunes of the brand.

As told to Anushree Chandran.