August 27, 2014
Swiss watchmaker Hublot is the first luxury watch brand to embrace American football through the creation of themed timepieces.
Hublot is creating themed timepieces for its partnership with the Dallas Cowboys and will likely attract serious fans of the team. The partnership will add to Hublolt’s involvement in professional athletics and will likely direct a slightly different sporting audience toward the brand’s products.
“[Hublot] is not a fit for the NFL," said Rob Frankel, branding expert at marketing consultancy firm Frankel & Anderson, Los Angeles. "It’s a fit for the rich fans of the Dallas Cowboys, whom one might argue have more money than sense.
“Sports, especially football, is a modern day gladiator game where bigger is taken to mean better,” he said. “Bigger men, bigger money, bigger toys. Now, a watch with a bigger price tag to provide one more field of competition.”
Mr. Frankel is not affiliated with Hublot, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Hublot was unable to comment by press deadline.
In 2007, Hublot was the first luxury brand to be involved with soccer. In 2011, the brand signed with NBA teams the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. It is also the official timekeeper of Formula One racing and Ferrari. The partnership with the Dallas Cowboys will expand the brand to another sport.
The multi-year relationship will blend football with the brand and create a space for Hublot to be present in the sport. Similarly, the brand gained visibility on the sidelines at the FIFA World Cup through its partnership and role as official timekeeper (see story).
Hublot's Dallas Cowboy watch
The Cowboys is a respected team in the NFL, having won several Super Bowl Championships, and it sometimes is referred to as "America's Team."
To celebrate this partnership, Hublot is creating three limited-edition, Cowboy-branded watches. These timepieces will be in the team’s blue and silver colors.
The timepieces will be sold at the Hublot boutique in Dallas and in the Cowboy’s owner’s lounge at AT&T Stadium in a new pop-up shop.
Hublot at AT&T Stadium
Hublot clocks will be on stadium walls, on the jumbotrons and the brand will handle the pre-game countdowns. The partnership will begin this season.
Playing with the pros
Creating a partnership across platforms can help bring attention to a brand among unlikely consumers. Many watch brands have sponsored sporting events with the aim of reaching a different range of consumers.
For instance, Swiss watchmaker Omega delved into its role as the Winter Olympics XXII’s official timekeeper with a multichannel effort that illustrated the mechanics behind its timing devices and celebrated the spirit of the games.
Omega served as the timekeeper of all events during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in addition to creating a 2,014-piece collection of watches to mark the occasion. The international buzz created by the Olympics introduced Omega to new audiences outside its primary markets and promoted its stance as an innovative watchmaker with global appeal (see story).
Similarly, Swiss watchmaker Longines was the official timekeeper and watch of the XX Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The games featured 17 sports and athletes from 70 teams across the British Commonwealth nations. This sponsorship created awareness of the watch brand among participants and fans (see story).
Sport involvement allows watchmakers to align the quality and endurance of their products with professional athletes, often drawing interest among dedicated fans.
“Hublot will probably find more blue collar-minded, well-monied customers via this channel, whom they were previously unable to reach,” Mr. Frankel said. “It's a status symbol that costs less than an RV.”
Nancy Buckley, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York