Friday, June 28, 2019

Summer Repeat - Nuking the PR Fridge with Omega

Thinking about some of the current knuckle head partnerships recently announced, I am convinced that it really doesn't matter how good or how bad an ambassador idea might be.  With the World Cup going on in France right now, there's a group of women from all around the globe showing what it means to be an ambassador.  And I hope some big brand has the sack to make Megan Rapinoe their ambassador.  She is confident, intelligent, fearless - and she can seriously play!  She has the courage of her convictions to take a stand for the rights of ALL people.  And she seems to have the number of the current occupant of the White House.  Regardless of your political views, the current score in the war of words following tonights game is Rapinoe 2, Haters 0.

But knowing the chicken-shit, look for the safest alternative, don't upset people who will never be your customer approach usually taken by the the shot callers in Switzerland - sorry if this hurts your feelings, but I stand by this comment... it will sadly probably never happen.

So we'll continue to look for the path of least resistance, and continue to toss smelly fish to the barking seals that are the influencers and media flacks with their hands out for favors and freebies.

So in the spirit of pissing in the establishment's oatmeal, I wanted to re-heat this one.

Nuking the Fridge with Omega

So it has come to this... 

Omega, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that the next new dynamic brand ambassadors need only the benefit of a fortunate birth certificate -

Courtesy of Omega
In a marketing and PR move utterly bereft of imagination and creative thought, Omega decided it made perfect sense to deputize the offspring of Ms. Crawford and her Tequila baron husband Randy Gerber as their new brand ambassadors.  

While they had a perfect opportunity to reach out to audiences that they might not have ever reached if they had collaborated further with Neil deGrasse Tyson and worked to make him a brand ambassador, the brain trust in Bienne thought it made much more sense to trot out two (admittedly striking) young people.  Now granted, their main claim to fame is doing well in the DNA Olympics, but I can't blame the kids for the decisions that Omega makes.  

I would also take great pains to point out that Ms. Crawford has gone above and beyond in her role as brand ambassador with her efforts on behalf of Orbis.  Credit where credit is due.

Having said that, this is one of the goofiest grasps at PR that I have heard of for some time.   

Perhaps the most comical element were some of the comments from Omega's CEO regarding the thought process behind this choice:

“Kaia and Presley represent the next generation of watch wearers. They are good looking, motivated, inspirational and full of energy. It’s incredible to have such a passionate family tradition within our brand and I’m so excited to begin working with these two young people,” said Raynald Aeschlimann, President & CEO of OMEGA.

Granted, they are good looking.  But please explain to me just how they are motivated and what it is that motivates them?  And just how is it that are they inspirational other than making the less attractive teens out there wish that they had clearer complexions and straighter teeth?  Because what this announcement really sounds like is that these young people are beautiful, and therefore you should want to wear one of our watches as it will make you beautiful too!

Mr. Aeschlimann, I think you are a bit unaware as to what inspirational youth really looks like, so I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to one:

Shamelessly borrowed
Malala Yousafzai -
When it would have been easy to shut up, she stood up, got shot in the head for her trouble, and went on to become an even greater hero (and Nobel Prize winner).

And I know, that was an easy one.  But the truth  is that there are thousands of young people all around the world who are doing far more with their time, are truly inspirational, and are actually making a real difference.  Granted, their parents aren't Cindy Crawford and Randy Gerber.

In fairness, Omega does a lot of good in terms of their charity work, and I am one of the few people writing about watches who has really covered it.  But Omega, please don't trot out a press release that is this disingenuous.  You are better than this. 

Which brings us to a previous post which seems pertinent to this topic.  This originally ran last August.


Why You Should Not Care Who Wears Your Watch

So this is, perhaps, a cold cup of coffee on a Monday morning.  But like removing a band aid, sometimes you just have to grip it and rip it.

My in-box has been bursting with "seen on the red carpet", and the latest Omega brand ambassador who won a medal, or an astronaut visiting the hospitality tent - and it begs the question -
who the f*&ck cares?

Shameless borrowed from the world-wide info web 
When I was a young man of a certain age, I was obsessed with the Rolex GMT Master - because Thomas Magnum wore one on Magnum PI.  Whether or not this was an intentional product placement or not, it made a big impact.  And it was effective because it was not overt.  And it bears mentioning that Magnum PI was a fictional character ; )

It has been proven by some tiny little brands that hundreds of thousands of dollars do not need to be dispatched to the pockets of famous athletes and entertainers to ensure the longevity of their brand or the desirability of their watches.

Who is the celebrity ambassador for Patek Philippe Panerai?  Vacheron Constantin?


And what of other big-boy brands?  Audemars Piguet had Lebron James as a paid ambassador at one point, but clearly nothing lasts forever as he was photographed wearing a Rolex recently.

Hublot was partnered with Manchester United, then they weren't, now they are again - at a cost of mere millions.

And Omega took pains to inform me this morning that a famous fashion designer visited their hospitality tent - needless to say, I wasn't invited - and neither were you for that matter, so why should you care?

The list goes on and on.  And if anyone was honestly looking at the balance sheet for a real understanding on the return of investment gained out of these partnerships, there might be some very uncomfortable questions to be answered.

Which then brings it back to you, gentle reader.  Panerai might have gotten a jump-start from Sylvester Stallone wandering into their boutique way back when, but what is now driving it is the desire people have for their watches.  The same for Patek and others who aren't chugging the PR Kool-Aid.

Shamelessly borrowed from the world-wide info web
So before you get all worked-up to go and plop down your American Express Unobtainium card to "Be Like Mike" and buy a watch based on a celebrity partnership, just ask yourself:
Are you excited about the watch, or about the person who is paid to wear the watch?  And more importantly, as a consumer is it your responsibility to help fund the vainglorious marketing foibles of a PR office completely devoid of creative ideas?

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