Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Breitling's Gotta' Bounce

In a press release so clumsily worded it left me expecting a request for my social security number and bank routing details, the folks at the BaselWorld party planning committee announced that Breitling was "Audi 5000" for BaselWorld 2020. 

Having read through the press release several times, and realizing that it was not written and sent by a former "most excellent prime leading-minister's daughter's son-in-law" promising to share a secret government stash of cash, I came to understand that despite their best efforts, the management team responsible for BaselWorld 2020 were not able to convince Breitling to stay on for the fair next year. 

And in all honesty?  I am of two opinions here.  The brain trust that is the Breitling PR/Communications group is not known for "warm fuzzies" in terms of their ability, or let's be honest, willingness, to engage with the press at large.  When I can get an appointment with pretty much any other brand, and when my emails and even phone calls to every possible branch of Breitling go unanswered, I get the sneaking suspicion that the folks at Breitling are really not bothered as to whether I cover them or not.  So on a personal level?  I really could not care any less than I already do whether or not Breitling and their "squads" will be within a country mile of Hall 1.

But hey, that's just little me.  But for the fair organizers?  This is a big deal.  Ironically, Breitling was given pride of place in Hall 1 and have, essentially, turned up their nose.  Now truth be told, their arguments are all valid - the show is going to be happening too late to really accommodate what they (and every other brand) are hoping to accomplish by participating in the world's biggest watch fair.  That being actual retail partners coming in and placing actual orders.  Most of the real sales work will have happened already.  It does not help that the show is in lock-step with the SIHH which is also happening much too late in the year.  Add to that those pesky  holidays that will very likely impact and curtail the number of participants from around the world.  

You can't put all of the blame solely on BaselWorld.  The SIHH botched this up just as much.  But despite all of the warnings and suggestions being offered, both fairs seem determined to ignore the concerns of the brands, the retail partners and the press at large.  But in all honesty, if they can?  They should change the dates of both fairs.  This would, of course, mean admitting a mistake by both the BaselWorld organizers and the SIHH, but wouldn't a slightly bruised ego be a small cost to pay for creating a better set of fairs?

We shall see, but for now all we can do is watch as Breitling's Squads fly off into the sunset.


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