‘Hipster squads’ sign on to promote Breitling’s luxury timepieces

January 4, 2019

Most Millennials don’t wear watches; their ubiquitous smartphones make such timepieces redundant. However, the 130+-year-old Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling has come up with a plan to attract consumers outside its elderly demographic, according to a recent report by Bloomberg.

Breitling has thrived on chunky, functional timepieces that come with busy dials and are favored by older men. Until last year, the company’s expensive product lineup was starting to look as outdated as its marketing—which, Bloomberg says, featured macho men in their aircraft and blond women in revealing outfits breathlessly awaiting their landing.

Now, the company is courting a new clientele—young, digital, and outdoorsy—with its #SQUADONAMISSION, a team of brand ambassadors that includes actors-cum-hipsters Brad Pitt, Adam Driver, Charlize Theron, and Daniel Wu as members of the Cinema Squad; and other celebrity teams who represent the qualities of a Jet Squad, an Explorers Squad, and a Surfer Squad.

In a description of the new campaign by AdGully, Breitling says that the first stage of the squad initiative features a full range of print, online, outdoor, point-of-sale, and broadcast advertising; as well as comprehensive use of all major social media channels worldwide.

The first photo shoots were done completed during the first half of 2018. The Breitling Jet Team Squad was photographed at its base in Dijon, France; the Explorers Squad members were captured on film on the Lofoten Islands in Norway; and the actors were shot by celebrated fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh in California.

In explaining the rationale behind the new campaign, Breitling CEO Georges Kern told Bloomberg, “We have enormous brand awareness, but we need to increase awareness for our products. It’s all about storytelling.”

Along with the new brand ambassadors the company has introduced a portfolio of striking timepieces. Brought out for the first time at the industry show, Baselworld 2018 in Switzerland last March, the Super 8—a new member of the Navitimer 8 family—takes it design inspiration, the company says, from the Breitling Reference 637 stopwatch,;which was used in World War II by bomber pilots and crews. The stainless-steel model has a black dial, while the titanium version features a military green dial. Both have large, luminescent Arabic numerals and a convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides. The hour and minute hands also are luminescent, making the Navitimer Super 8 easy to read in all lighting conditions. The cost starts at a reported $3,500, with several more expensive versions.

The streamlined Super 8—less bulky than Breitling’s usual timepieces—is designed to attract a younger buyer who has the money and the taste for luxury to enjoy wearing a collectible watch.

Perhaps seeing it on the wrists of the company’s celebrity squads will make it irresistible. Only time will tell.

Research contact: @squadonamission

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