It’s Time to Do Something Different

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Marketing in the luxury sector, particularly the area of luxury timepieces, needs to change its tactics. It isn’t always effective to rest on your laurels or get by on your brand heritage anymore. Even the luxury market is seeing a need to get a little more fresh and creative and to implement more guerilla-like marketing techniques.

The luxury sector is a tough sell. Although when the product does sell, it sells for a high price, and it is precisely because of this high price tag that it is limited, as it really only sells to a select client base with expensive taste and a disposable income. The marketing ventures of the majority of luxury brands plaster posters all over city walls, billboards, and alleyways, as well as sponsor large events and constantly ply magazine pages with expensive advertisements. The amount of money that they sink into these campaigns is in the billions. But is it effective and is it really paying off?

The fact that the luxury watch sector is alive and well, largely assisted by specific online merchants like that of Chrono24, shows that there is still a demand for these items. However, the point that “some watch companies spend as much as 60% of their revenue on marketing”, as discussed on A Blog to Watch, would seem to suggest that things could perhaps be done a little better.

The luxury watch sector has two large hurdles to overcome:

  1. They do not have an automatically demanding consumer base
  2. It is not a market of necessity, but of want

Ultimately, not only do luxury watch brands have to convince their customers to buy their brand in particular, but they have to convince them to even buy a watch in general. So how do you go about doing this? One marketing company seems to have come up with a creative guerilla marketing approach to put the luxury items right into the customer’s hands.

In 2012, an advertisement for the Big Pilot’s watch from IWC Schaffhausen broke the timepiece marketing trend. In collaboration with Jung von Matt/Alster, the advertisement was placed over bus straps so that when people reached up to steady themselves on the airport shuttle, not only did they see the advertisement, but they actually saw briefly what the watch would look like around their wrists.

The same method was adopted in 2013 by Graffiti for Jacques Lemans’ timepiece collection, with over ten different models being advertised on the bus handles. One thing that this type of advertisement does, as opposed to the hundreds of magazine ads that people flip through with little regard, is to get the customer base engaged. They have an actual experience with the brand, see the watch around their wrists, and because it is ambient advertising and unexpected, it captures their attention.

To some, it may seem like a cheap advertisement ploy, especially when luxury watch brands are all about image, class, and owning a collectible piece that exude status and wealth. However, perhaps this is a step in the right direction and the type of creative thinking that the luxury watch sector needs.


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