To pump up brand, VIP ‘bags’ John Abraham

Mumbai, April 16 (Agencies):  VIP Industries has roped in Bollywood hunk John Abraham as brand ambassador to re-launch Skybags. But this time, the 1993-born brand’s re-launch is targeting a defined 25-35-year-old target group of professionals with an eye for style. A high-decibel campaign, including television, will go on air for the first time for Skybags, starting this weekend.
Speaking to Business Line, Mr Manish Vyas, Vice-President - Marketing, VIP Industries, said, “Skybags today is the biggest bet for us. We see it playing a role in increasing the style-consciousness in the luggage category, starting with a generation of young professionals. As a brand, only VIP had been promoted and nurtured so far. “Now there is a clear definition of categories. Skybags should contribute 10-15 per cent to our business overall.” VIP registered sales of Rs 638 crore in the financial year 2010. He also expressed hope that Skybags would drive consumers to the organised segment with its brand appeal.
Wider Distribution, Staying Solo
The Skybags range is priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000, and will be made available through all trade channels for the first time. It was previously available at VIP’s 400 to 500 exclusive outlets, and hypermarkets and malls. Now, 1,500-2,000 MBOs stocking VIP luggage as well as the trade outlets serviced through distribution and business associates network will stock and sell Skybags. Skybags was initially launched as a sub-brand of VIP. It went solo in 2003, and became a ‘clear standalone’ in 2007.
Now that it is targeting a more sharply defined set of consumers, the brand custodians are confident of its independent identity helping growth.  “VIP stands for style and functionality, but this is a generation that is far more attuned to style and far more keen on expressing themselves.  “They are well travelled and at a much younger age. Skybags will address their aspirations,” added Mr Vyas.
Multi-brand Portfolio
Over the last two years, VIP Industries has driven a multi-brand portfolio. That is set to continue, with even more action unfolding this year. The UK-brand Carlton, the premium offering from VIP, has been rolled out in the Indian market. A print-led campaign to support the launch will also be backed up by a television campaign on niche channels. VIP’s ongoing campaign focused on 360-degree wheeling, launched in March, is set to continue. After a gap of six years, the bottom-of-the-pyramid hard luggage brand Alfa will also be promoted, informed the spokesperson. Aristocrat and Footloose complete the focus brands from the VIP portfolio.