Who’s Got Your Bag? Pelican ProGear / OmegaBrandess: Industrial Strength with Style!

Who’s Got Your Bag? Pelican ProGear / OmegaBrandess: Industrial Strength with Style!

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Knowledgeable photographers seeking camera bags that are absolutely indestructible, and designed to protect their precious gear even under the most extreme conditions, have long turned to Pelican—acclaimed maker of hard-sided cases world renowned for their ruggedness and durability.

Indeed, U.S. Government agencies and the military have, over the years, been among Pelican’s most reliable customers. But times are changing, according to Jeff Seidel, director of Sales and Service for OmegaBrandess Distribution, Pelican’s distributor to the imaging channel. And that’s why Pelican is launching the new ProGear line, aimed at enthusiast, prosumer and active lifestyle photographers, to diversify their demographic and extend their market reach.

OmegaBrandess Distribution, the largest source for accessories in the imaging industry, offers nearly 50 different product categories and upward of 12,000 discrete SKUs, and is ideally positioned to actively promote Pelican’s ProGear. Jeff Seidel, an affable industry veteran who served a 26-year stint at Ritz Camera before joining the company, is the perfect choice to spearhead the effort. A serious shooter himself, he’s a genuine hands-on expert on camera bags who also knows how to sell them effectively.

“Basically the concept of ProGear is to take Pelican’s core competency and brand identity as the manufacturer of the world’s most indestructible camera bags, and combine that with style and features that will appeal to a broad range of photo enthusiasts, prosumers and active lifestyle users,” says Seidel. “In other words, we’re retaining the industrial strength but not the industrial look. For example, the new line of four Urban backpacks we’re rolling out first is based on a hybrid solution that combines soft construction plus a laptop, tablet or e-reader section that incorporates an actual Pelican hard case. That makes Pelican the only company to integrate the incredible protective performance of crushproof construction into a soft case, and we offer sizes to accommodate anything from a large 17-inch Mac to an iPad to a Kindle Fire. The crushproof inserts are injection molded using an open cell core and solid wall construction. The stylish exterior design of all four models is fashionably understated, and they’re differentiated by color accents—gray on gray, or gray with blue, red or yellow.

“The whole marketing thrust for ProGear will be taken to an entirely new level as well,” observes Seidel. “For the first time, there will be TV ads on cable channels with tie-ins to the Olympics that are targeted at the outdoor segment, and convey the image of robust protection. Other ads will feature active lifestyle personalities as presenters, including Jeb Corliss, a base jumper and wind suit pilot who jumps down canyons, and Craig Sawyer, an ex-Navy Seal and tactical trainer.

“All these ads project a rugged outdoor image that’s in line with the product, and clearly aimed not only at photographic enthusiasts and pros but also a broad segment of outdoor enthusiasts. We see ProGear as a crossover product line that will appeal to a broad spectrum of active lifestyle users who want a high degree of protection with cool, rugged styling. And that protection is real—the computer compartments are watertight and have pressure-release valves that you may have to release in order to open them!

“With the current pullback in government spending, Pelican has had to expand its market reach and focus more on consumer oriented products,” notes Seidel, “and the rebranding and expansion of ProGear is one fortunate result. At OmegaBrandess, we’re very excited about launching ProGear and the fact that it’s very much in line with current industry trends.

“Just as the line between portable electronics and imaging products is blurring, so is the line between photographic and image-sharing lifestyle accessories. That’s why we’ll also be rolling out other innovative ProGear products, including micro cases for iPhones and iPods, and hard-back cases for e-readers, tablets and laptops only.

“What’s really cool for retailers is that the launch coincides with a new pricing policy. Pelican will, for the first time, be firmly committed to a strictly enforced MAP program. This will certainly give dealers a great opportunity to sell these amazing new products at a healthy profit margin.” omegabrandess.com

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