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Mate – it’s only a (vegan) camera bag!

Nikon has teamed up with Swedish vegan luggage maker Gaston Luga in launching a $286 backpack called the GLX Nikon, modestly described as ‘the fusion of technology and aesthetics’.
That’s not to say the bags themselves are Made in Sweden. Gaston Luga is silent on where it has its product made. It’s a bit more vocal about how ethically they are made, however:

To ensure that all our products are manufactured ethically, our factory is certified and inspected by the Amfori BSCI platform. We take great care in making sure that all materials used and methods of transportation have the lowest climate impact possible. To do this, we use vegan leather alternatives across all products and our packaging is made with FSC-certified paper that is printed with soy ink.

Perhaps we can get some insight into the provenance of manufacture by knowing that bags for the Asia Pacific market are shipped from China. That’s probably why they are relatively cheap.

But if you have never heard of Gaston Luga don’t get too down on yourself. Gaston Luga isn’t a real person and the brand has only been around a few years. It’s main customers appear to be that niche of collectors  who amass bags, and/or a younger demographic whose every acquisition is influenced by a compulsion to appear virtuous.

But that’s just one curmudgeonly old man’s take…And here’s another one: In 40-odd years of reading and writing press releases, this piece of work is a contender for one of the silliest I have come across.

Here’s a tasty selection of hyperbole, spin, breathless prose and outright gobbledygook from the press release:

…this collaboration between Nikon and Gaston Luga delves into the artistry found in creation; empowering individuals to discover themselves on the journey of creation, exemplifying how ‘life is a work of art’ (their italics)

– I’ve stared at that sentence for five minutes, and every one of those minutes drew me further away from comprehension. But wait, there’s more:

The new GL x Nikon backpack invites creators to embark on a journey to transcend the ordinary and create extraordinary visual narratives that resonate with their unique stories. Creators are inspired to unlock the boundless potential of their creativity, discover new perspectives, and use the power of imagery to convey the nuances and complexity of self-expression.

And this is special: the backpack ‘serves as the perfect companion for every creator’s artistic journey — allowing creators to seamlessly carry their gear wherever their travels or creative endeavours take them.’  What does ‘seamless-ness’ have to do with schlepping a camera bag?

John Young, who has the impressive-sounding title of general manager of International Marketing, International Business Division of Imaging Group, Nikon Singapore Pty Ltd, seems to be channelling John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron:

Together, we embark on a journey where life itself becomes a canvas, and every moment an opportunity to create art. Our collaboration aims to inspire individuals to see the world through a creative lens, appreciating the beauty that surrounds us and immortalising it with our innovative imaging technology. By embracing the philosophy that ‘life is a work of art’ we inspire creators to become the artist of their own story, turning fleeting moments into timeless masterpieces.

– Dude – it’s only a backpack, not the Holy bloody Grail!

But what a life-changing backpack! The last words go to Jonas Wistrand, CEO, Gaston Luga AB (they really, really like that ‘life is a work of art’ notion):

We believe that life is a work of art, waiting to be discovered. With the new Z f and GL x Nikon backpack as your steadfast companion, content creators can confidently embark on their journey of self-exploration, capturing moments of joy and the richness of life with Nikon. Together, we invite the bold and curious to embrace the call to create and appreciate the boundless beauty that surrounds us every day…

The net impression is that Gaston Luga makes bags which both inspire creativity (somehow) and are made ethically. Surely a super-ethical company like Gaston Luga wouldn’t breach tax laws in the countries in which it markets its products. Yet that appears to be exactly what they are doing by selling these bags direct to Australian consumers: ‘When you order from a country outside of the EU, you will be responsible for any duties or fees applied following customs regulations. Kindly contact your local customs office or check their website for more information.’

– But that’s not how it’s supposed to work here. International companies selling products to Australians shipped from overseas are obliged by Australian law to register with the ATO, collect GST for low value products (under $1000) at the point of purchase and remit the GST to the ATO. Fortunately, the price on the Gaston Luga website ($316) is slightly higher than that on the Nikon Australia website ($286) so Nikon Australia Online shouldn’t lose many sales to its Swedish partner. It would be nice, though, for loyal Nikon dealers to get a look-in on this new line. It does compete with the other backpacks they stock, after all.

And here’s a tip for the Nikon/Gaston Luga communications team. If there really isn’t a lot to say, just present the facts. A press release has a different purpose to an ad, no matter what the marcom manager reckons.











One Comment

  1. STM STM September 27, 2023

    What’s the saying ? Putting lipstick on a pig, or in other words we’re putting more Chinese cheap junk on the market which in a couple of years will probably fall apart and be in landfill so you can buy another one, but Hey because of our flowery speeches you can feel good about it !

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