A Man and his watch are a lot like a man and his car! Men and women alike would like to own the flashiest and the best known models! The craze normally begins with Hollywood – where we can see some of the most coveted and exclusive watch brands being showcased!
Celebrities of the stage, sporting world and the screen have endorsed watches for several years now, and celebrity endorsements have given them a lucrative art! We all know that the life of a celebrity is interesting and exciting! They also remain under scrutiny all the time, while their lives remain a mystery to most of us. They do put in a lot of hard work to be where they are and they become famous and remain exclusive. The brands they endorse, however, bridge this gap; making them more approachable and relatable to the general public.
Brands are more than aware of our traditional fascination and craze with celebrities. Taking advantage of this, they simply ensure they get their watches on the wrists of those celebrities who have opulence and fame in plenty!
This in a nutshell is the life of a celebrity influencer!
For instance – John Travolta posing in front of one of his airplanes, sporting a Breitling, Ussain Bolt wearing a time piece from Hublot, Andre Agassi wearing a Longines watch, or Serena Williams sporting an Audemars Piguet – all this makes the common man feel connected to the celebrities. To authenticate this emotion and feeling, he goes to the extent of purchasing the brand and sporting it! What a way to entice! All these efforts are part of the brand’s design, whereby they associate the celebrities with their brands – as brand ambassadors, friends, influencers or the popular faces on social media, bill boards and magazines etc. When the celebrity is seen wearing the product that he or she endorses the demand for that product increases considerably among his or her fans and it really does not matter if the endorsement is a true one or a personal fondness.
With the influence of social media today, brand ambassadors are now expected to Tweet, and post comments on Facebook, Instagram etc. where they constantly talk of their wrist styles. It therefore does not come as a surprise that models such as Cara Delevinge are becoming more and more popular. With Tag Heur making Cara their brand ambassador she has been projected in such a manner as to appeal to the younger crowd!
Where did it all begin in the watch industry?
The first to benefit from these paid partnerships were the athletes, whose timing on the sporting field and their split second differences made a huge difference. To name a few notable celebrity endorsements and partnerships – Hublot (Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt and Justin Rose), Rolex (Roger Federer, Phil Mickelsen and Jordan Spieth). In fact there are many brands that go a step further and design watches especially for their ambassadors. Seiko for instance honoured its ambassador tennis star Novak Djokovic with its Astron GPS Solar Novak Djokovic Limited Edition watch which has the special feature of automatically changes time zones to the new local time with the touch of a button. This was specially designed for the trendsetting jetsetter Novak Djokovic, whose agenda for the tennis game took him all over the world.
What an impact!
The sophisticated and suave culture of Omega is conveyed with just a glance from George Clooney. Lewis Hamilton portrays TAG Heuer’s penchant for living on the edge and pushing boundaries with finesse and ease!
Celebrity endorsements – A costly yet coveted playing field!
Can you imagine that one can get paid close to $6 million for his or her involvement in a three word jingle that goes like this – “I’m lovin It”. We are talking of the time when Justin Timberlake struck a profitable deal with McDonald’s. This endorsement was pushing people to keep buying. The other deal was the one that megastar Beyonce signed up with Pepsi for a whopping sum – $50 Million way back in 2012!
While there is a certain echelon of brands that rely on big personalities and athletes to endorse and take their brand to the customers, there are a few brands that have yet kept away. This brings us to the question – why do brands invest in Famous Ambassadors?
When brands scale into the higher price scale, prestige and intrinsic value become the main drivers of sales, whereas, in the lower price brackets, value becomes a major sales proposition. It is the middle segment where most of the industry action occurs and the competition is aggressive. This leads to the difficulty in creating a distinct and clear separation between the segments. Hence companies rely on branding and the brand ambassador therefore becomes the most effective alternate to the creation and establishment of artificial heritage in the minds of consumers.
Linking a celebrity to a brand can go beyond mere advertising. The brand may decide to fly one of its ambassadors to the film festival in Cannes or to a prestigious watch fair . All this is intended to add to the glamour on the red carpet, and can add value, glitz and glamour during the launch of a new collection.
Do all brands choose this path?
With endorsements running to several millions of dollars’ worth, and running the risks of scandals, not all watch makers take this route. There are a few watchmakers – Tudor, Roger Dubuis, and Patek Philippe – who have kept away from using celebrities for their branding exercise. They are a minority though! We know for a fact that even Apple hired stars such as Chloe Sevigny and Alice Copper to be the face for their Apple Watch during the spring of 2016!