The global watch

For some watch firms, one campaign can translate globally, but for others, cultural differences call for variations on a theme.

Timex’s five-year-old strategy is multifaceted, as its many groups of watches target different types of people, said Susie Watson, advertising and public relations director.

“No longer can you target one group with your brand and expect to get any diversity,” she said. There’s very little overlap between their target groups, she noted.

Timex has four campaigns: one for the Expedition outdoorsy watches, one for the Ironman watchesfor sports enthusiasts, one for the women’s fashion watches called True Classics and one for the Turn & Pull analog alarm watches. Coming up is a new campaign for the new Humvee watch (inspired by the Hummer vehicle), which will address a young, alternative male customer.

This year, Watson said, the firm will spend $18 million on advertising.

At Citizen, president Laurence Grunstein said the company continues to use its campaign entitled “Citizen. How the World Tells Time,” which was created five years ago.

Since the campaign began, he claims Citizen’s market share has gone from number two to number one in the over $50 watch category in the U.S.

While the firm is capitalizing on its global-style slogan, Grunstein said it doesn’t lose sight of all the differences in cultures.

I think the world is getting smaller, the Internet is helping that, and in time this diversity in advertising may change,” he said. However, he noted that the firm must still tweak the campaign for the differences among countries.

Citizen will increase its ad budget between 10 and 20 percent this year over last year. Last year it was roughly $10.5 million, Grunstein said.

Over time, the media mix has changed. Fourteen years ago, all advertising was on TV, he said. Now it’s about half TV, half print. Last year, TV advertising was 55 percent with print at 45 percent; this year those percentages will be flip-flopped.

At Tag Heuer, U.S. president Susan Nicholas said the firm has propelled its uniqueness of being a higher-end, branded sports watch.

We came in and took a small functional segment of the watch category — sports watches — and moved them to a prestigious alternative to a dress watch,” she said, comparing the phenomenon to what has happened with sports vehicles becoming a status symbol.

When the firm launched the Kirium watch last year, it commissioned Herb Ritts to do a photo shoot of 13 world-class athletes in the nude to make the tie between sports and watches. Tag Heuer exhibited the photos in art galleries here and in Los Angeles, and now plans to use them in a brochure to reach more consumers in the next few months to promote a new Kirium chronograph watch.

Close to $10 million has been spent on advertising for the firm this year, with the national program comprised of 90 percent print advertising in about 30 publications. The rest is large outdoor advertising such as wall paintings.

At Swatch, vice president of marketing Carlo Giordanetti said it runs the same TV spots in various countries, as the firm seeks “to convey the brand message with a lifestyle message of Swatch.”

The motto, “Time is what you make of it,” is used to trigger an emotional response in all viewers, Giordanetti said.

Giordanetti said that, this summer, Swatch will push its image with the Goodwill Games through TV spots on CNN, CBS and TNT and outdoor billboards.