All my life, my father told me stories of his adventures during an Antler luggage campaign he worked on in the 1960s... and how he met my mother because of it. So whilst researching in preparation for the celebration of his life where we stumbled across the heritage section of the Antler UK website and watched the ‘Zenith Cases for Going Places’ film, we were amazed and delighted to see moving images of the man about town in New York, Mexico, Hawaii and Thailand to name a few. We had seen pictures from the ads of course, but he never mentioned the film. As he's is not with us any more it's intriguing to be able to see a part of his history that will always remain a mystery.
In 1966 my father was working for Erwin Wassey, an advertising company based in London. One of their main clients was Antler Luggage and they had just launched their new Zenith cases, which were hailed as being extremely durable, up to any ’torture tests’ performed by 'the boffins in white coats'. The heavy loads of an elephant at London Zoo and a Jaguar E-Type were classed at the extreme end. But that wasn’t enough, Antler were after a new campaign…
My future dad put forward an idea to Mr Ralph Wright of Antler Luggage to subject the Zenith to the stresses of round the world travel where they would be dropped, thrown and dragged through the world's baggage carousels. But the budget didn't allow for such a far reaching and adventurous campaign. The 60s was a time when more people were beginning to travel so far and wide for leisure, so the time was right. A meeting was arranged with BOAC (now British Airways), who agreed to sponsor and fund the campaign if they could add their strapline to advertisements. Two great British brands were ready to take on world travel and hopefully the Zenith Case was up to the task!
Now I’d love to tell you all the many stories my father encountered, but as luck would have it, before he passed away last year, he wrote a book telling where he tells his stories much better than I ever could. It’s available on Amazon and it is called A Suitable Case for Travelling by John M. Harrison.
It's easy to be cynical about brand loyalty. From personal choice to popular culture, we research and think about what we want and this is where the knowledge and trust in a brand grows. It exists and serves our needs, impulses and of course the product and service based industries, which strive to influence and entice us. These behaviours develop from a variety of positive feelings.
I'm brand loyal to Antler, not just because they make great suitcases, they are the reason my mother and father met and so there's a strong case (sorry) that I would not exist if it were not for the Antler campaign. I would never had come into this world to have enjoyed his travel stories, as it was on his return trip on the campaign from New York in 1966 that he met my mother’s friend on the plane, who went home to tell her about a curious English man who travelled the world with smart looking luggage, who had so many interesting things to say and to be sure to look him up on the London leg of her European trip.
For me, loyalty for the Antler brand is much more than a stylish and sturdy vessel for my belongings. It also symbolises a journey, adventure and storytelling past down through my family and friends and this has got me thinking.
I'm interested in how and why meaning and emotional responses are present for you. Which brands are you loyal to and why?
Additionally, maybe there's a new advertising campaign for Antler on past and future adventures with their cases. Antler UK, if you read this, I have just given you a great idea!