Last weekend, my girlfriend and I were on our way to a department store. On our way there, we passed a watch (and jewelry) shop and stopped to have quick look at their watch collection. As we moved on, my girlfriend asked the following question: “Why do watch brands advertize with Brad Pitt and George Clooney for men’s watches? Men don’t want to be like them and probably don’t even like them.”. I just nodded and added “I understand that brands advertize with legends like James Bond or Steve McQueen, but advertizing with Brad Pitt and George Clooney doesn’t make sense to me either”. And it really doesn’t. I don’t have to explain James Bond I assume, but perhaps that Steve McQueen is more or less an actor like Brad Pitt and George Clooney are. However, Steve McQueen has a different kind of cult status. Besides being an actor, he was involved in racing motor bikes and cars as well. And he passed away some time ago (1980), perhaps this helps a bit as well.
I can’t imagine that guys are persuaded to buy a Tag Heuer or Omega watch because Brad and George are advertizing for these brands. By the way, ever noticed that Brad Pitt wears Rolex in the Ocean-movies? Who comes up with these silly advertizing campaigns? Omega should advertize with astronauts, a few sports people and perhaps with George Daniels. Or maybe even legends who wore Omega watches during their life times (e.g. president Kennedy). Same goes for Tag Heuer, let Brad Pitt go and continue advertizing with people like Steve McQueen and F1 drivers. Those are people that guys want to identify themselves with. The only thing men find interesting about Brad Pitt is his wife, as simple as that.
Anyway, I think that the collectors and watch freaks amongst us do not care about advertizements using movie stars and rock stars. Perhaps most of you don’t even care about advertizing with Jacques Cousteau (IWC) or Napoleon Bonaparte (Breguet). I know that I don’t.
I do like the old fashioned Rolex advertizements in National Geographic’s magazine, where pilots/explorers/divers share their experience using a Rolex watch. Or the Omega advertizement telling us that the 100.000 USD suits used by NASA astronauts are complemented by a 250 USD Speedmaster watch.
One of the best (recent) advertizements for a watch has been done by Audemars Piguet imho. A few years ago, the Audemars Piguet brochure included a portrait of an unknown watch collector who collected watches since he was a kid. At one time, he met this guy who was wearing an early model Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This watch didn’t let him go, and he promised himself to get one. Years later, he found one in poor condition. He bought it and had it fully restored. Why I think this is a good advertizement? Because it is finally about an unknown guy with love for watches, hunting for that special time piece, buying it and admiring it. No show-off, no famous face, no movie star… Great! I can relate to that!