Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Fusion of...


We are back to the topic of celebrity partner / endorser.  Want to know why Breguet doesn't have any problems with the celebrity clients they used to mention in their advertisements like Napoleon and Churchill?  Simple, most of them are dead.  Sounds a bit harsh, but with the news breaking of celebrity partner Lapo Elkann's unfortunate mishap in New York City this past weekend, the question comes to the surface again - are celebrity partners worth the risk?  For those unaware, according to the New York Times (among other outlets) Mr. Elkann was in New York City when following a night of fun, frolics and antics he was believed to have made a false police report.  Britain's Guardian put it a little less subtly -

Lapo Elkann, scion of powerful Agnelli family, charged with faking own kidnap

What pretty much every other outlet I have read has agreed on is that Mr. Elkann was reportedly with an "escort" and that there were drugs involved.  Which is, in fairness, neither here nor there.  The problem arose when he contacted his family, let them know that he was being held against his will and needed $10,000 to gain his release.  I refer you to the reporting from the Guardian.

Needless to say, $10,000 for an Agnelli is a bargain even in this economy.

Part of the fun of working for a watch company that has a following of any sort is that you get to meet some famous and interesting people. And there are few people as interesting as the grandson of L'Avvocato.  But just as celebrities come with entourages, they also come with baggage.  

The people at Hublot are not fools.  There are plenty of bright, savvy people who I suspect give a fair amount of consideration to risk vs reward when it comes to their celebrity partners.  There have been some home runs - Usain Bolt, Pele and others.  Some have been a wee bit controversial like Diego Maradona (although I still say at his peak he was a better player than Pele).  And some were just not good ideas - Floyd Mayweather was perhaps an ill-advised roll of the PR dice.  And that is putting it as delicately as I can.  Luckily the "Black and Blue" Bang never saw the light of day.  Now if we could just convince them to walk away from FIFA we'd really be onto something ; )

And now we come back to Elkann the younger.  Hublot was, of course, counting on his celebrity, enthusiasm, and potential to provoke attention.  Well, when viewed strictly in those terms he has delivered.

So the big question is - was this a PR "black eye" that Hublot was unwilling to suffer? 
Well, maybe, because it appears that perhaps this was a bang too big for the folks in Nyon because as of 7:00 AM Eastern Time, any attempt to find Mr. Elkann's visage on the Hublot website or to select the Italia Independent watch was greeted with:

Our website is under maintenance,
Sorry for disconvenience.


Now before you get too snarky, it bears mentioning that although disconvenience is not a word that could be said to be in "common usage", it is actually a word.  Albeit not one regularly used for several hundred years.  So strap on your "Big Bang Sundial" while I educate you, courtesy of Oxford Dictionary Online:



  • 1historical
    Lack of accordance or correspondence; = disconveniency. Compare inconvenience. historical and rare after 17th cent.
  • 2Inconvenience, disadvantage; (as a count noun) an inconvenience, a disadvantage. Now rare.


Late Middle English; earliest use found in Guy de Chauliac's Grande Chirurgie. Originally from (i) Middle French disconvenience disagreement, incompatibility.

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