Samsonite reached out to the college market for its new backpack and messenger line, launched in 2011. The “Samsonite Tough Tour,” which visited 17 college campuses across the northeast, was designed to increase brand awareness and appeal, and to drive sales, among the target demographic for the new line.
An armored Ford truck was customized to showcase the product’s durability and toughness. Side truck panels displayed a backpack surviving the elements with headlines linking the durability to college students’ lifestyles (e.g. “Survived the Epic South Campus Tray Luge Finals Unscathed” and “The Only Thing to Survive the Music Festival Unaltered”). Front and rear panels promoted the “Tough Tour” with a call-to-action to visit the Samsonite website. The truck’s creative also featured bulletproof glass, gun ports, a grill guard and a police-style light bar with a siren and public-address system.
Students were invited to test the quality and ruggedness of the product by competing in a race on an inflatable obstacle course while wearing a Samsonite backpack. Winners received backpacks, water bottles and TSA locks. All participants received a coupon for 25% off online purchases.
A trailer was transformed into a small retail store where students could purchase and learn about Samsonite products. A 10 foot by 20 foot pop-up tent served as the registration area for the obstacle course and featured free branded premiums such as pens, lanyards and stadium cups.
Key student influencers were identified at designated college campuses by their number of Twitter followers and online presence and leveraged to promote the events and build traffic.
Phase two—the “Ready for Anywhere Tour” —took place at Spring Break 2012 in Panama City Beach, providing the opportunity to reach the largest concentration of 18- to 24-year-old students in one location, with approximately 450,000 students from 350+ universities visiting over a three-week period.
“Ready for Anywhere” added a bag toss game that replaced bean bags with backpacks to emphasize the bag’s strength and durability. The trailer provided an exclusive, sneak peek of the new VizAir line and a chance to win $3,000 in a Samsonite sweepstakes. A custom iPad app provided an on-the-spot enter-to-win opportunity, while a photo station allowed consumers to take photos in front of one of three distant and exotic locations to emphasize the line’s versatility, which were then emailed to them to share on their social networks.
A post survey showed an increase in brand awareness from 57% to 81%. Brand appeal increased from 23% to 47% and their likelihood to recommend increased from 19% to 40%.