Strategy That Goes Beyond Brand


After 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration established a prohibition on locked baggage. Travel Sentry sought to establish new, industry-wide design and construction standards along with new airport security protocol for an improved class of luggage locks. The new approach would allow for baggage to be opened for inspection by the TSA and closed again without damaging the lock or baggage. The advent of Travel Sentry represented help for the ailing travel goods industry.

To be successful, Travel Sentry had to quickly gain commitments from every major lock and baggage manufacturer, world-wide, while simultaneously winning commitment from the federal government to recognize the new standard, train TSA personnel, inform the public and adopt the new protocol at every airport, nation-wide.

Also, to enable quick recognition by TSA screeners, there needed to be a common design element established that identified each brand’s version of the new design as Travel Sentry Certified.

Most importantly, Travel Sentry needed to be absolutely certain the new approach would be welcomed and accepted by the flying public. Additionally, they needed to understand the pricing tolerance for locks that would necessarily cost substantially more than previous generations of baggage locks.


  • We developed a lock body shape and a Travel Sentry emblem that visually distinguished it from all other locks, yet was adaptable enough for each lock manufacturer to distinguish their own model.
  • We developed, distributed and placed a package of carefully-worded, informative ads and pamphlets demonstrating cooperation between manufactures and the TSA and their joint effort to improve the public’s perception and experience of airline travel.
  • We distributed press kits to virtually every national and local news organization in the US with comprehensive follow-up. This resulted in hundreds of articles, interviews and product profiles ranging from The Today Show to the The New York Times.
  • Retailers placed orders for locks in the millions in time for the holiday travel season.
  • The first, second and third waves of inventory flew from shelves.
  • The TSA faltered at first at implementing adequate training and airport signage, but with continued feedback from travellers funnelled via Travel Sentry, they quickly understood that the public now expected them to have a fully functional program.

Today, the travel goods business is well on its way to recovery. Travel Sentry remains the only baggage lock standard and is rapidly being adopted around the world. Travel Sentry has begun to extend the brand, introducing other travellers’’ convenience items with coordinated security standards such as shoes, belts and totes.

The team contributed fundamentally to the successful launch of Travel Sentry. Starting with targeted market research that continues to add value a year later, to superb creative content, to excellent PR execution, they generated broad international recognition for Travel Sentry.

John Vermilye, Chairman, Travel Sentry