October 3, 2014
Swiss watchmaker Hublot opened a pop-up store in the Grand Atrium of the Dubai Mall to kick-off the first Hublot Challenge with its Ferrari F1 racing simulator.
Hublot is the official timekeeper of Ferrari races and will time consumers virtually racing against Ferrari F1 drivers in the simulator. The consumer interaction this challenge will present in various Middle Eastern cities will likely drive attention to Hublot.
"We have a long story of excellent relationship with Dubai for over 10 years now, and our clients are very faithful to Hublot," said Marine Lemonnier Brennan, international PR manager at Hublot, Geneva.
Racing with against the clock
Fans will have the opportunity to race against Ferrari F1 drivers in the simulator. The winner from the Dubai pop-up will compete in the final round in Abu Dhabi with the possibility of winning a real track experience on the Yas Marina circuit during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali Dec. 3-6.
For more than 10 years Hublot has had a relationship with Dubai, and with the Ferrari Finali Mondiali in Abu Dhabi this year, the brand chose Middle Eastern cities as the location for this challenge.
Pop-up shop in Dubai Mall
On Oct. 1 the inaugural simulator race kicked-off the event and will run until Oct. 14. The pop-up store will run the same length. The launch was attended by Jean-Claude Biver, the CEO of Hublot and His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The high profile event and the timepieces on display at the store will likely draw consumers to the Hublot pop-up. At the store several watches inspired by Ferrari are available. There will also be a collection of Pop Art reinterpretations, watches that elude to the 1970s cultural trend in the United States.
Ferrari and Hublot’s simulator creates a fully immersive experience that is used by professional race drivers. The graphics allow participants to have a realistic sensation of driving with HD graphics and a wrap-around curved screen.
Results are posted on the Web site that has been developed by Hublot for the challenge. Dubai is the first round and other rounds will be in Kuwait, Manama, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
Middle Eastern influences
Luxury brands have been seizing the opportunity to expand marketing campaigns into Middle Eastern cities.
For instance, French couture house Chanel showed its cruise 2014 collection in Dubai to mark the first showing for the brand in the Middle East.
This continued the tradition of Chanel trotting its smaller shows outside of Paris, which have taken the brand to Dallas, Singapore and Scotland. By taking its runway production to the Middle East, Chanel proved the importance of the Middle Eastern affluent consumer (see story).
Also, Swiss watchmaker Omega continued to support the golfing industry in the Middle East by extending its partnership with Golf in Dubai.
Through the partnership, Omega acted as the title sponsor of the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Ladies Masters through 2017. Omega’s renewal of its partnership showed consumers that the brand is invested in developing golf in the region (see story).
Leveraging the partnership with Ferrari will likely allow Hublot to gain a consumer base in the cities of the challenge.
"Only Hublot, as official partner of Ferrari worldwide, can bring the F1 Ferrari simulator to such an event." Ms. Lemonnier Brennan said. "This event reinforces Hublot uniqueness and exclusivity."
Nancy Buckley, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily