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American Tourister to spend Rs 50 crore towards marketing in current fiscal

The brand has also come out with an ad campaign ‘Hard to let go’ featuring Virat Kohli and Cristiano Ronaldo. The company will spend Rs 20 crore of the total Rs 50 crore marketing spend on this campaign. Rs 10 crore will be spend on digital marketing

Anushree Tainwala

The premium luggage brand American Tourister has set aside a marketing budget of Rs 50 crore for the current financial year.

The Samsonite-owned brand has roped in Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo for a promotional campaign to be run before and during the upcoming peak travel season.


The company will spend close to Rs 20 crore of its total marketing budget for this campaign.

The luggage brand has also doubled its digital marketing and advertising budget to Rs 10 crore for the current financial year.


Anushree Tainwala, Executive Director, Marketing, Samsonite South Asia, said, “The majority of our spends do go on television. Increasingly, digital is becoming more and more important. 20% of my total spends this year would be on digital. Until last year we were spending around 10% of our spends on digital and this year we have increased it to 20%.”

Samsonite’s focus on digital is the digital ads, social media and content marketing.

The organised market in the luggage category is pegged around Rs 3,000-3,500 crore in India and Samsonite has a 38% share. The No.1 player in the category is VIP Industries, at No.2 is Samsonite, followed by Safari in India.

Recently, for its largest brand American Tourister, Samsonite has come out with a TVC titled ‘Hard to let go’, featuring footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and cricketer Virat Kohli. The global campaign is conceptualised by TBWA/Spain. The brand will spend around Rs 20 crore on the campaign this year.

Ronaldo’s bit of the campaign is shot in Spain for his convenience. Kohli’s part is shot in India in collaboration with the brand’s Indian agency McCann Erickson.

The messaging of the global campaign is ‘Bring back more’ and the Indian campaign is ‘Hard to let go’. The ad is modified to fit in the Kohli’s story a little bit better.

While the campaign is timed around IPL season, American Tourister’s focus is not IPL. Tainwala believes that IPL doesn’t have much value for the brand. Explaining further, she said, “For us, April and May are the biggest travel seasons and that’s why these are peak advertising times for us, irrespective of IPL or not. This is when we will traditionally do our largest campaign. In fact, IPL only deters us from spending during this time, because the GRPs drop for all the non-IPL content during this time. Generally, our budgets are such that we don’t see getting bang for our buck for advertising on IPL, but the GRPs drop for other genres.”

The campaign insight is to bring out a sense of belonging and the love that one has for the brand. The ‘Hard to let go’ fond memories and sentiments that are usually associated with favourite products. Frequent traveller themselves, Ronaldo and Kohli exemplify this concept with American Tourister, Curio luggage, which is their constant travel companion. The two brand ambassadors’ lifestyle is closely aligned with American Tourister’s (and Curio’s) target audience – namely the on-the-go millennials.

 “Hard to let go” is showcased in the campaign’s television commercial, which sees the footballer return from his various overseas trips. Ronaldo finds it difficult to let go of his suitcase and checks himself in with the luggage. He amazes one and all, and the passengers cheer as they see him holding on to his suitcase all the time even on cargo carts and in the plane. The passengers waiting to collect their luggage near the conveyor belt are surprised to see the footballer emerging out of the conveyer belt still holding on to his American Tourister Curio.

The TVC spins a twist at the next shot. We see passengers go even more berserk and the applause grows louder as they see Kohli, also on the conveyor belt with his favourite American Tourister Curio luggage. Both the legends smile at each other while clinging on to their ‘Hard to let go’ favourite brands. The commercials end with a ‘Hard to let go voice-over’ and the TVC zooms in on the latest Curio range of luggage by American Tourister.

India is a cricket-oriented country and might not relate to Ronaldo as much as it can to Kohli. Explaining the insight behind bringing Ronaldo on board, Tainwala said, “For us, it was more like a topical thing. Ronaldo might not be in people’s mind continuously, but given that the football world cup is approaching and there is a lot of buzz around football in general. Given the timing of the campaign, Ronaldo might have a mass appeal in India today. Ronaldo stretches beyond just being a sports icon to a cultural icon.”

The brand receives most of its demand from the metros. But Tainwala is seeing growth in demand coming from the non-metros as well. She said, “We are seeing growth both in metros and non-metros. Customers are making that journey from unbranded to branded. That journey is being made equally fast at all levels.”

One major challenge that Samsonite faces in India is to make the luggage category look more aspirational than functional. “While a lot of customers are making their journey from a functional to aspirational, the majority of the luggage industry is still unorganised. The percentage of people looking at luggage as the functional product is still quite high. The number of people looking at luggage as fashionable and looking at it beyond just a box to carry is still a minority of the population.”

The TVC:


Advertising Agency: TBWA\Spain

Client: American Tourister

Client Contact: Angie Law

Chief Creative Officer & VP: Juan Sánchez

Chief Creative Officer: Guillermo Ginés

Creative Directors: Luis Munné, Raúl Barbolla

Copywriters: Luis Munné, Charlie Lastra, Ylenia Esquerdo

Art Directors: Pepelu Sánchez, Maite Robaina

Client Services Director: Beatriz Moreno

Account Supervisor: Malena Canterio

Executive Account: Alejandrina Fontana

Production Manager: Mariluz Chamizo

Graphic Production Manager: Nuria Mazarío

Photographer: Nuno Correia

Chief Strategy Officer & VP: Jesús Fuertes

Digital Planner: Denitsa Andreeva

Head of Digital: Paco Mateos

Digital Production Manager: Rebeca Garrobo

Project Managers: Diana Benito, Pablo Delgado

Developers: David San Blas, David Álvarez

Production Company: Grayskull

Director: Augusto de Fraga

Producer: Natalia Vargas

Executive Producers: Jesús Álamo, Dani Monedero

Photography Director: André Szankowski

Making off: Moirè

Music: Audionetwork

Post Production: La Huella


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