Inside Pacsafe's Brand Story (Or, A Bag Full Of Yarns)
Early this year I was contacted by bag brand Pacsafe about delving into their history and articulating a brand story for them. With their 20th anniversary just around the corner, it was a great time to revisit how things began, uncover war stories from the 'startup days' and pull together something short, yet heartfelt, that spoke about their two decades of delivering anti-theft travel solutions to the world.
Considering their two founders, Rob and Magnus, are both total characters, it was a really cool project. I flew up to Hong Kong to meet them, shared a few too many red wines and poured through their archives together.
The hardest part of having such rich source material is having to chop things out. For example, in the spirit of brevity, I had to ditch the fact that Rob and Magnus worked on superyachts together. That their first gig involved taking watch during the graveyard shift, and they somehow found a secret bilge storage full of beer. Every night, they did their 'duty' as sentinels over the inky waters of the Mediterranean, knocking back a few cold ones. Just before the trip finished, they shared what was left of the stash with the rest of the crew - a total of 3 beers. I also cut out that in the early days, their filing cabinet got really bottom heavy, because everything was being filed under T for "The" (the invoices, the orders, the patents).
The first draft came out as pretty generic (as first drafts often do). As far as brand stories go, this is normally a way for me to simply get my ideas in order, make sure I've got the facts straight, and ensure I'm keeping all the 'good stuff'.
After that, it was about taking a basic 'Pacsafe started in 1998, yada yada yada, into a piece with some more punch to it'. Inspired by a really cool brand piece I had seen by Yeti (whose overall copywriting is top notch by the way), I turned Pacsafe's story into an open letter from the founders.
Here's what came out the other end...
The original in anti-theft carry solutions
We’ve spent most of our lives traveling the world and seeking out adventure. Trekking through
Asia, hitchhiking through Europe and sailing high seas.
We’ve felt the thrill of coming across secret alleys in bustling cities, the joy of having that first
bite of a local delicacy, and the awe of standing among ancient ruins.
We’ve also felt the heartbreak of having our passports stolen, the discomfort of trying to sleep
on top of our backpacks to keep them safe, and the anxiety of crossing a sketchy border with
every dollar we own in our pockets.
While some people think the threat of getting ripped off is all part of the adventure, we always knew there had to be a better way. That by taking some extra security with you,
you would enjoy the ride even more. You might even push further out of your comfort zone to experience something new. Something life changing.
That's why in 1998 we started Pacsafe, with a vision to help travelers embrace life's adventures.
For us, the biggest reward is seeing a Pacsafe bag on someone’s back in a customs queue,
or a tote slung over somebody’s shoulder as they navigate a packed city street. We like to think that some of the bounce in their step comes from knowing their gear is secured.
One question we like to ask people that continues to inspire our own journey:
Where is your next adventure taking you?
We’d love Pacsafe to come along for the ride. Safe Travels!
Rob Schlipper & Magnus McGlashan
To learn more about how I helped Balter Brewing create a fun, yet professional brand voice, head to this post for more insights into the process of copywriting.