September 24, 2008
by Ariel Adams
“Hi, how’s it going?”
“Just fine sir, care to view any fine Jaeger LeCoultre timepieces today?”
“Well, I don’t know. What makes these…. Jaeger LeCoultre watches…. better than what I’ve got now?”
(sigh) “Sir… these are what we call, ‘real watches.’ A a Jaeger LeCoultre watch represents an accomplishment combining elegance and discretion with a natural aura of serene confidence.”
(blank stare). “I don’t…. What exactly does that mean?”
“It doesn’t matter what it means sir. I’m telling you, as I have been told, that it is the appropriate response to these… questions…”
Yea, I don’t know what Jaeger LeCoultre was thinking behind this new idiotic marketing direction which is aimed squarely at one response from consumer. “Wait, what is Jaeger LeCoultre saying?” Self admittedly, Jaeger LeCoultre is stating that there seems to be some problem in the consumer’s perception of the brand. So when you are checking out their advertisements, of course you aren’t going to focus on the watch, but rather this relatively insulting question.
I personally have never worn a real watch. All this time I’ve gotten along quite well with cardboard cutouts on my wrist that keep excellent time twice a day. Being under the perception that I was a watch lover, I am saddened to learn that I don’t know what a real watch is, nor that I am wearing one.
In one fell swoop of poor articulated words, Jaeger LeCoultre insults the majority of watch owners out there and every other watch company in the industry. Working with world renowned marketing/ad agency DDB, Jaeger LeCoultre probably walked into their offices saying, “people are buying more mechanical watches, but our sales aren’t up proportionally with the increased demand. Here is a million euros, do something.”
Not being business idiots and specializing in marketing. DDB did what they do best and took the job. Most people in the world who aren’t watch lovers, don’t really understand the watch industry. And that goes for DDB as well. With no offense intended, I find that the vast majority of PR and marketing firms don’t know squat about watches, and just place them in the sale category as fashion and jewelry. For this reason, we are blessed with the ad copy dribble that stands for most watch industry marketing materials. When will they ever learn? I posit that there is no cure in sight.
Please try reading the words that accompany the pictures of watches you pick up catalogs to look at, or on websites. Utterly indecipherable much of the time. Like a code that makes you solves riddles to figure out basic items that make a watch desirable. I’m glad that a 1000 labors worked for a 1000 to perfect the sheen on the watch case, but what movement does it have? I’ve actually experienced sales people at watch retailed locations pulling out “the big book” that is supposed to have the information in it. The tome is hauled up on the display case. Dust is blown off, and the poor sap looking through the pages is annoyed themselves that none of this information is easily to find. It would be like going car shopping and the sales person calling the factory to determine what type of engine the car has. “There is a guy from corporate that might now. I can give you his phone number.” Oh no, you’ve done quite enough, I won’t trouble your overburdened company for any more basic information.
Perhaps I should find a couple of Jaeger LeCoultre sales people and ask them what makes their watches “real?” Those would be some interesting answers, lathered with a thick coating of, “who are you to ask” and a layer of “if you have enough money to buy one of these watches you really shouldn’t care.” Ahh…sales…
I think I might just do that. At least to prove to myself how ill conceived this entire new circus act of a marketing slogan campaign is. The people who spend a lot of money on nice watches at this level tend to oversee Rolex for something more interesting and unique. They focus on looks, features, and tangible benefits in a watch. The “have you ever worn a real watch” concept might temporarily catch the attention of someone who doesn’t know anything about watches, but not long enough to purchase, and certainly not enough to garner credibility in the eyes of anyone who might actually buy a Jaeger LeCoultre.
So for these reasons, “have you ever worn a real watch” is a dumb question. And the response offered by Jaeger LeCoultre makes no sense. In fact, I can’t determine if there is really a response at all. A question akin to some hallucinogenically derived postulate about existence itself that has about as much of a good answer as does something like “do we ever really live?” and “can enough money really ever buy a good advertising campaign?”
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