Contemporary dancer Renée in the new Samsonite Travel ad campaign by Rankin.


PARIS — Samsonite Travel has teamed with British photographer Rankin and his in-house creative agency The Full Service for its latest ad campaign, hooked on two of its collections: the iconic Cosmolite Curv range, and the new Lite-Box line — sporting a boxier shape — that will hit the market in April.

A range of personalities lark about with cases in the ad, each offering tongue-in-cheek demonstrations of the lightweight, robust characteristics of the lines, which are both made from the Curv woven polypropylene material exclusive to Samsonite.

Royal Ballet soloist Eric Underwood balances a suitcase on one finger, while British model, blogger and DJ Charlotte de Carle can be seen spinning two suitcases like turntables, or hurling a case at the floor, mock air-rage style. Also featured are fashion blogger Yanin Namasonthi, a barber named Tommy and an entrepreneur named Jonathan, who has a spoof boxing match with his case.

Titled “The Serious Traveller,” the campaign launches today on the Samsonite web site. It will then roll out to the Brussels and Frankfurt airports at the end of the month, with other major international airports still to be defined. The ad will appear in both billboard and digital formats, moving between static images and the video version of the campaign by Rankin.

Lotte De Vreese, product director at Samsonite, said the brand, in choosing to work with Rankin, was “ready for a fresh, new approach that’s inspiring and impactful, but also fun.

“There are quite a lot of messages for us to get across, because [Curv] is a unique material that has led to the strongest and lightest product we have ever made…Finding an engaging, impactful way to communicate that without going too dry on technicalities was quite tricky, but we think we’ve succeeded.”

One of Rankin’s strong points, she added, lies in his ability to “connect with the people in front of his lens, which creates an intimate feeling. Also, working with a photographer with an agency around him gives us more assets to use across different channels.”

Buoyed by a healthy year for the travel industry, business is “very strong” for Samsonite, which in 2016 posted total sales of $1.5 billion, up 5.9 percent versus 2015 in constant currency terms, with a 7.8 percent spike in Europe, De Vreese said. Outbound trips in Europe this year are expected to grow by 4 percent to 5 percent; business travel in Europe, which has seen rough times the past few years, is back up, she added.

In terms of product strategy, De Vreese said the brand is looking to increasingly diversify its portfolio with more lifestyle and daily items. “We have a very strong business portfolio that we are expanding, but also more casual handbags and backpacks,” she said. In the coming months, Samonsite will be reconnecting with Rankin to work on the second phase of the campaign focusing on the Samsonite business category, she said.

The brand is also working on developing a smart luggage concept in collaboration with Vodafone, still “very much in the research phase,” with a launch targeted for 2018. “We are working on a solution to make bags traceable. It’s very important for us to be first in this market,” De Vreese said.

Samsonite counts around 48,000 points of sale internationally, including over 800 free-standing stores.

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