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Lots of Power: The Story Behind Tenba’s Latest Camera Bag Campaign

by Chris Gampat on 01/29/2014

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Earlier on, we reported on the new advertising photos for Tenba’s new DNA messenger bags. In our most recent memory, we’re not sure that there have been any other totally hilarious camera bag ads out there–but Tenba decided to exercise something that true photographers do–creative freedom. So when we first reported on the camera bag ad launch, we just had to ask Product Manager Peter Waisnor about what happened behind the scenes and what made the entire thing happen.

Phoblographer: Tenba recently did a shoot that is both funny and effective for their new DNA line of bags. But who the hell got the idea to take a Sumo wrestler and put him in the ads? How did that come about?

Peter: It was a team effort. We wanted images that spoke to the strength and durability of Tenba since we only manufacture professional-grade bags that are built to last a long time, but we also wanted something original that no one has ever seen in our industry. And we wanted images with a meaningful message that are sort of funny at the same time. We spend quite a lot of time each day laughing and joking in our office, and we want our marketing to reflect that.

Phoblographer: Tell us about the Sumo wrestler?

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Peter: Byamba is a real champion. Ten days before our Tenba shoot he won gold at the U.S. Sumo Open, and three weeks after our shoot he won gold in St. Petersburg, Russia. He also happens to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. He did not need to exert any effort to pick me up or drag me (as you see at the end of our videos), that’s for sure. He picked me up the way someone else would pick up a loaf of bread. But we had to make sure that whomever we worked with had a similar sense of humor, and Byamba was a perfect fit.

Phoblographer: Why did you guys choose to light it and style it specifically this way with all the light coming from above?

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Peter: We wanted something dramatic that fit the intensity of Byamba and his fierce sumo process and motions. To watch him do those things live is quite a thing. He moves lighting fast and with more force that I’ve ever seen up close. The lighting had to match that mood.

Phoblographer: Was there any previous shoot that inspired this?

Peter: No, actually. Our goal was to do something completely outside of the normal scope of photo/filmmaking industry marketing.

Phoblographer: Now we know about the still photo shoot, but what about the video? No one exactly thinks about a bag designed for city folk to go up against a Sumo wrestler. I mean, there are no Sumo wrestlers on bikes in NYC.

Peter: It was so much fun to do. Byamba really tried his best to tear apart our bags. Those shots in the intro aren’t faked. And the interactions between Byamba and me were a blast. We just had a great time goofing around. I got a little banged up taking ten or so consecutive dives down on the concrete cyc. And when a sumo rips a bag out of your hands or pushes you, you really feel it. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a set.

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