Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Asking Hublot an Uncomfortable Question About FIFA

Many of you will no doubt be aware of the turmoil that FIFA is experiencing now less than ten days to their biggest event - the World Cup in Brazil.  What many of us are now struggling with is the fact that FIFA has probably brought a lot of this turmoil onto themselves.

The Olympics and the World Cup are HUGE money spinning mechanisms for the IOC and FIFA.  When that much money is involved, and that much power is involved… let's just say we shouldn't be shocked.  The "selection" process is a high stakes beauty pageant with "pageant moms" often resorting to whatever means they think will get their "little girl" the crown of "pageant queen".

Point of full disclosure - YES - I work with brands to help place watches on the wrists of athletes, actors, etc.  So I am fully aware that it is a very, very fine line to walk.  I would also say that just because a brand is involved with a group that is experiencing some controversy doesn't make the brand "BAD".  Having said that, I also think that a brand does have the power to confront and question the behavior of their partners - and if necessary end the relationship.  I also realize that it is easy for me, or others to critique.

To Hublot's credit, when this partnership first started the deal was that instead of HUBLOT, the time indicators displayed an anti-racism message.  These were noble, sincere intentions.  But as we can see with the rampant spread of neo-Nazism throughout European football, with racist groups openly organizing and recruiting IN the stadiums AT the games in SPAIN, ITALY, ENGLAND and elsewhere - this is something that FIFA is paying a lot of lip service to, but not really working to solve.

I applaud OMEGA for their charitable work, and their watches are amazing.  I applaud HUBLOT for their charitable work and their innovative spirit.  But I will say the same thing I said around Sochi - you are not responsible for your partner's actions, but YOU ARE responsible for choosing to continue with them.

In fairness, the IOC and FIFA have long been suspected of less than ethical behavior on a LOT of levels.  This is not "new" news.  But I will ask Hublot the same question that I asked OMEGA -
Are you really sure you want to continue on with this partnership after this World Cup is completed?

You can't change what has happened - but you can make changes for the future.  Now the last time I said something like this, the OMEGA people were courteous enough to hear me out in person, gave me a glass of juice and an espresso, and essentially "excommunicated" me from the "Church of the SWATCH GROUP".  For Hublot I am a tiny fly in the corporate ointment, and I am not exactly on Mr. Biver's Christmas card list, so I suspect that this will not even raise a whisper at Hublot HQ ; )

Let's hope for a beautiful World Cup, an elimination of racist groups at football stadia, an end to the allegations of bribery and corruption in the IOC and FIFA, and a speedy return of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny ; )

Enjoy your watches!

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