July 8, 2014
Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen is demonstrating its support for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation with the annual special-edition Laureus watch.
The watch features an engraving from a drawing contest among children in the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation across the world. IWC Schaffhausen’s special-edition watch may generate awareness of the brand’s dedication to global youth and involvement with the foundation.
"The biggest benefit is the ability to generate publicity for the brand," said Al Ries, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries, a Roswell, GA-based marketing strategy consultancy. "Also, the publicity helps communicate the brand's devotion to 'good works.'
"Today, a certain percentage of potential customers of any brand are convinced that big companies are the enemies of consumers," he said.
"They only want to deal with companies that are environmentally friendly and sympathetic to the problems of ordinary people."
Mr. Ries is not affiliated with IWC Schaffhausen, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
IWC Schaffhausen was unable to comment by press deadline.
Watch for children
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation believes that the power of sport can save lives and change a society for the better. The foundation develops community projects to help children who are struck with war, poverty, homelessness, illness, discrimination and violence.
Since 2005 IWC Schaffhausen has worked with Laureus Sport for Good Foundation to support more than 150 projects. Every year the brand hosts a drawing contest among all its projects to find an engraving for the Laureus special-edition watch.
The 2014 Laureus Chronograph Portuguese Classic Edition features a drawing from a girl in the Special Olympics project in Russia.
This project supports 1.5 million children around the world.
The foundation believes that sports have a lot of value and create confidence among children. Part of the profit from this watch will go to the projects in the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and some of it will specifically go to the Russian Special Olympics project.
IWC Schaffhausen created a video to explain its involvement with the foundation and the contest surrounding the watch. The short film features Olympians and representatives from the foundation at the winner's boarding school in Russia.
Video featuring the watch and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
The special-edition watch is the eighth annual edition and has stainless steel bears for the engraving. The theme of the drawing contest was time to play and the winning picture features several kids in a winter scene.
Also, the watch has a blue dial finish, the color of hope for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. It features 38 jewels and a black alligator leather strap.
One thousand watches were made for the edition and are being sold for $13,200.
Engaging younger generations through design promotes a brand to future consumers and offers an opportunity to engage positively with the public.
Other watch brands have taken the opportunity to connect with the youth to help them raise awareness.
For example, Swiss watchmaker Breitling was looking to increase the awareness of its Breitling Scholars program and raise funds for education through the auction of a collectible timepiece.
The watchmaker auctioned the first model of its limited-edition Naval Centennial Airwolf watch, of which only 500 were produced. The Breitling Scholars funds benefited the National Flight, which encourages science, math, engineering and technology education (see story).
Similarly, Italian fashion house Versace touted the design process behind its watches by hosting a student competition called Versace Watch Talent.
The label’s Swiss watches were produced through a licensing agreement with Timex Group that began in 2004. By asking students at Swiss horological university École d’Arts Appliqués de La Chaux-de-Fond to reinterpret its designs, Versace could generate awareness of its brand, watches and craftsmanship (see story).
The nature of competition mixed with a special-edition watch and the benefits that cycle back to children create a positive depiction of the brand.
"IWC Schaffhausen doesn't want to reach children," Mr. Ries said. "They want to reach parents.
"Actually that is a very good idea," he said. "Most parents would be more interested in a contest for their children than they would be in a contest for older people.
"As a general principle, you can be more effective reaching parents by focusing your marketing programs on their children."
Nancy Buckley, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York