Saturday, October 28, 2017

Do Black People Buy Watches? An Interesting Counterpoint and a Paler Shade of White

Now not surprisingly, some interesting discussions took place following Wednesday's post.  And one person opined that I had clearly "cherry picked", looking for two brands that made it easy to prove a point.  So I asked for their suggestions and they mentioned Tag Heuer, Rolex, Hublot and some of the other usual suspects.  In other words, check out all of the big dogs who dip their toes in the brand ambassador pool.  

Seems fair enough to me.

So as we continue our side by side comparisons, first up today is Hublot -

I have a love-hate relationship with the folks in Nyon.  On the one hand, they have done some very good charity work, they make some interesting watches, and in many ways demonstrate how powerful an idea can be when it is properly executed.  And on that score there can be no debate.

On the other hand, they have partnered with some truly dubious characters in the past, and seem to have a hard time breaking up with a certain pugilist who has a less than stellar record outside of the ring.

But one thing has to be acknowledged - of the 14 individuals currently listed on their website under the Partnership category, 3 are black.  Usain Bolt, Dwayne Wade, and the King himself - PelĂ©.  They have also partnered in the past with Kobe Bryant (probably the less said about the "Vino" watch, the better).  In addition (as mentioned above) they have partnered with Floyd Mayweather, and if memory serves, Jay Zee touched down briefly on planet Hublot in the not-too-distant past.  And while 3 current ambassadors might seem pretty lean, when you compare it to our two previous brands -

Omega - 0
Audemars Piguet - 1

3 seems like a pretty big number.

But when we look at corporate stable mate Tag Heuer, we encounter a return to the apparent norm in the Swiss luxury industry.  Now I need to be clear, once again, I am basing this on what I can see on the Tag Heuer website right now.  These ambassadorships are divided into categories, so in the interest of clarity, I will break these down accordingly:

Art & Music -
5 ambassadors
0 black ambassadors

Lifestyle -
5 ambassadors
0 black ambassadors

Sport -
14 ambassadors & "friends" 
1 black ambassador - Tim Howard 

3 ambassadors (if you don't count the car)
1 black ambassador - Muhammad Ali

Now in fairness, with 2 ambassadors, Tag Heuer is way ahead of Omega.  On the other hand, one of those ambassadors is no longer with us, so it is sort of a difficult daily exposure idea to leverage.
And I find it fascinating because Tag Heuer spares no expense in promoting their brands and spreading the word.  So clearly, this is not a budgetary issue.  At least not in the traditional sense.



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