Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Greatest Marketing Campaign That Never Was (a marketing campaign) - Part 2

Celebrity partners, friends of the brand, watch product placement. You are certainly familiar with these terms. And many folks in the watch (and watch adjacent) interest groups out there  have long held the belief that the Vulcain Cricket became the "The Watch of Presidents" through extremely shrewd maneuvering by the Ditisheims, most recently Michel Ditisheim and the Vulcain marketing team. As Mr Ditisheim explained to me when we met last November, nothing could be further from the truth.
As we have established, the very first Cricket was presented to Harry Truman by the White House News Photographers Association. There were no intermediaries, not "fixers" who intervened to get the watch presented. It was simply the watch that they chose to give him -
Photo Credit Harry S Truman Presidential Library
And of course the folks selling Vulcain watches saw a reasonable opportunity to spread the word about Vulcain and the Cricket. And tempting (and potentially easy) as it might have been to jump on this marketing goldmine with both feet, handing out Vulcain Crickets left, right and center to anyone vaguely connected to the White House, Mr. Ditisheim and the folks at Vulcain took a decidedly novel approach. They did nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing, but let's just say that rather than spending time and money working to promote the Cricket by presenting it as a free gift to every US dignitary that crossed their path, they simply sat back and watched as the Cricket took on a life of its own, promoting itself and Vulcain as perhaps the least expensive yet most effective brand ambassador of all time!
History will note, the next man in the hot seat at Pennsylvania Avenue was none other than the now out of work, former Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, one Dwight David Eisenhower. Just how, when, where, and why Ike came to have a Vulcain Cricket is a subject of debate and more than a wee bit of conjecture. What is clear is that, at least as far as Michel Ditisheim knows, it most certainly did not come directly from Vulcain. 
Advertisment for Vulcain Cricket
And Vulcain (and the Cricket) did the opposite of the fabled grasshopper, they made hay while the sun shined! Needless to say, long before Michael Jordan strapped on a pair of Nikes, watch fans wanted to "be like Ike". And it didn't hurt that unlike other alarm watches before and since, the Vulcain Cricket did as advertised - it literally chirped like a cricket, ensuring that the wearer (and all those around) would not miss its alert. The quality of the Cricket's construction was demonstrated to a large audience when President Eisenhower's Vulcain rang out as he participated in a conference discussing the importance of imposing higher import tariffs for Swiss goods. Whether or not this was planned will likely never be known, but the
 Cricket was rapidly becoming a fixture at the White House. 

And for those of you keeping score at home, the official number of Vulcain Crickets given as a gift by Vulcain to US Presidents thus far is:

0 / 2

Tune in next time as the Cricket jumps to the wrist of a new, and somewhat unlikely Commander in Chief.

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