May 5, 2015
Swiss watchmaker Hublot is enjoying a publicity spree after the brand’s latest ambassador won “The Fight of the Century” in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather wore the Hublot name on his boxing shorts in the ring when he won the eagerly anticipated fight against his opponent Manny Pacquiao. The fight made over $300 million dollars and was extensively advertised on social media, making Hublot’s sponsorship of Mayweather highly lucrative.
“With the slogan 'The Fight of the Century,' it’s obvious that it captured the attention of almost everybody, including high-end consumers who are Hublot’s target demographic,” said Al Ries, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries, a Roswell, GA-based marketing strategy consultancy. “Mayweather might be winner in the ring, but many high-consumers are going to look at him as a loser in their minds.”
Mr. Ries is not affiliated with Hublot, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Hublot was unable to respond by press deadline.
Before the match, Hublot’s chief executive officer Ricardo Guadalupe presented Mr. Mayweather with a King Power WBC Full Pavé watch encrusted with emeralds to celebrate the brand’s sponsorship. Mr. Mayweather is a well-known watch enthusiast, and he happily accepted the gift for his personal collection.
Mr. Mayweather posed with Mr. Guadalupe before the fight
Mr. Mayweather’s role as a brand representative is especially significant because he has never before worn a brand name on his boxing shorts during a match. Hublot commented that this aligned well with the brand’s message of being “First, Different, Unique.”
The fight was extensively advertised on social media with many celebrities posting about it in the days leading up to the event. Hublot’s sponsorship likely helped the brand reach a wide audience of potential consumers.
Hublot advertised its sponsorship of Mr. Mayweather
Some argue that Mr. Mayweather’s behavior makes him a less than ideal brand representative or role model. “The fight got tremendous advance publicity, but afterwards, a lot of negative publicity,” Mr. Ries said.
The publicity that Hublot has achieved with this sponsorship will help the brand reach a new demographic of younger, social media-savvy consumers.
Mr. Mayweather won the fight unanimously
Hublot has previously chosen to align itself with top athletes in a variety of different sports. The Swiss watchmaker boosted its celebrity status in 2013 by appointing professional basketball player Kobe Bryant as its new brand ambassador.
The watchmaker previously established partnerships with other celebrities and athletes, including Mr. Bryant’s basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers. The addition of a well-known athlete could extend the brand’s reach even further (see story).
Hublot is also known for sponsoring large events that will draw significant publicity and capture consumers’ attention. The Swiss watchmaker continued to show that its watches can suit any wearers’ interests with the introduction of a poker-themed timepiece in 2014.
In one way or another, whether it be an event sponsorship or a limited-edition watch, Hublot has a hand in a number of sports, such as dog sledding, Formula One racing, cricket and football. By offering consumers a wide range of options, a consumer with multiple hobbies and passions can turn to Hublot to express his interests through the brand’s watches (see story).
Hublot's sponsorship of "The Fight of the Century" brings the brand into another competitive sport. Despite the successful publicity, boxing may prove to be a bad match for the brand.
"Oddly enough, if the fight itself was a huge success, the publicity would have ignored Mayweather's personal faults and focused on his performance in the ring," Mr. Ries said. "That might have helped the Hublot brand.
"I think you'll find that sometime in the future Hublot will discontinue its relationship with Floyd Mayweather. I think the negative publicity is going to keep many brands from associating themselves with boxers.
"Something similar is happening with NFL players."
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York