Friday, May 10, 2019

Care and Feeding of the Watch Press

So it happens like this -

Brand plans a big press event. Brand marketing genius (excuse me while I die laughing) decides that invitations are only going out to the A list. Several A list outlets simply can't be asked, others hint that they could be "enticed" to come, well you know where it goes from here.

Now to a large extent, this is the way it's always been done (at least in recent memory) by small and mid-sized brands, and this is the way it continues to be done.  Needless to say, plenty of bottom-feeding outlets are ready to be there, solemn and sincere interest being feigned at appropriate levels to ensure that the business portion of this transaction is, well, transacted by both sides.  And you know what?  Fair enough.  There will always be confidence men (and women) out there, and there will always be watch brands ready to put something shiny in their hands. 

Now here is where the story takes an even more interesting twist.  Event happens, press release is provided to a select few outlets. And when the rest of the press reaches out to the brand afterward in the hopes of getting the press release, because, you know, that is how the press is supposed to work?  That same Marketing Genius (yes, still laughing) tells said outlets, in essence, to go screw themselves.

Marketing and promoting a watch brand is, contrary to the same self-styled marketing gurus beliefs, nothing that requires some weird Yoda-like approach, is actually pretty simple.  If you are in charge of marketing you have one simple job - make people like you, your brand and the brand's watches.  That's all.  When you treat the press badly?  They are far less inclined to like you, and they are most certainly not going to write about you.

Now I know just what these young sharps are convincing their bosses and themselves of - they are targeting their brand towards the cream of the watch press.  But consider this - when you, as a brand, have to pay (by coin of the realm or by shady gift) to get coverage? You are doing the equivalent of tying a pork-chop around your neck to get the dog to play with you.  And when you tell the press that is willing to cover you for free to go get stuffed?  You're a MORON. 

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