New Delhi: VIP Bags, the 48-year old luggage brand owned by VIP Industries, has undergone a complete revamp after briefly being endorsed by Hrithik Roshan in 2016. Apart from a new logo, the brand has also brought on board celebrity couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan as brand ambassadors who will feature in an integrated summer campaign called ‘Hello Holidays’.
Targeted at young families, the campaign, created by advertising agency Whyness, features the Bollywood couple with a kid enjoying holidays at exotic locations with smart VIP bags in tow. The campaign will be promoted across television, print and digital media. The company said that it has brought a significant change in the design language of VIP line of luggage making it look more premium. With bolder colours, contemporary designs and slick finish the brand wants to appeal to the young consumer base.
“The greatest strength of VIP can also be considered its greatest weakness. As a brand, VIP has had some association with every Indian. As a company, we found it very difficult to change consumer perception. VIP has always been known for its durability and quality that continues but we have upgraded the look and feel of the products," said Radhika Piramal, executive vice chairperson, VIP Industries Ltd.
April to June is the peak holiday season in the country when people buy travel accessories and luggage and VIP wants to leverage the demand. Apart from the design and marketing changes, the company is also beefing up its retail and distribution network.
“Skybags became a success because they were sold through modern trade channels, department stores and e-commerce apart from general trade, dealers and distributors. We will follow similar strategy for VIP bags as well increasing our new lines across traditional trade, modern trade (hypermarket, department stores and e-commerce) and company run showrooms and franchise," said Piramal.
The company is also revamping 250 exclusive VIP stores across India over the next six months. In the last ten years VIP Industries did transform itself launching Skybags in 2011 which it claims has become single largest luggage and backpack brand in India. A year later it entered in the mass premium ladies handbag segment with brand Caprese which crossed ₹ 100 crore in sales in 2018.
New designs and value for money proposition coupled with smart celebrity driven campaigns featuring young stars such as Varun Dhawan (Skybags), Alia Bhatt (Caprese) and cricketer Rohit Sharma (Aristocrat) have delivered growth for the company. Although VIP holds 55% market share in the country’s luggage market, competition has intensified with world’s largest luggage maker Samsonite bringing its first-ever celebrity endorser and Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli on board last year.
For the year ended 31 March 2018, VIP Industries posted sales of ₹1416.34 crore, a growth of around 10%.
However, the headroom for growth is significant in this segment. Industry experts say that the luggage category is witnessing growth because of low household penetration and increase in travel (both domestic and international) especially business travel by air.
According to Sanjay Sarma, founder, SSARMA Consults - a branding and communication advisory, the new campaign is an older generation’s perception of what’s new and may not work in changing perceptions about VIP being a brand for Gen Z.
“Saif and Kareena are neither young, nor have a great following amongst younger audiences. Their persona could have been captured better to retain an aspirational feel rather than make it so very middle class. The other problem is with the kid. They could have done without showing one, or taken the complete family with the real kid. Frankly, Taimur is more of a trend amongst the new generation than his parents," he said.
Sarma also pointed out that the bigger problem however, is with the name VIP as the new generation (late millennials and Gen Z) don’t care about being a VIP.
“They are experience collectors not entitled travellers. They could have turned it around to do something on the lines of ‘Very Interesting People’, capturing successful young achievers in different fields with a quest for exploration, discovery and travel. That would have worked better in changing perceptions," he added.