Branding Perspective: The Swatch x OMEGA Debacle

The collaboration of titans! Awesome!! But is it really?

As part of The Swatch Group’s initiative to improve sluggish sales and brand desirability for its Swatch watches, they have decided to launch the BIOCERAMIC MoonSwatch collection. Nice name play there.

This new and affordable collection priced at USD258 (a little over RM1000) puts OMEGA’s iconic Speedmaster Moonwatch within the grasp of many middle-income people. The Speedmaster Moonwatch’s minimum retail price usually starts at approximately USD6,000.

And… people were going crazy over the weekend it was launched.

Kudos to The Swatch Group for this brilliant collaboration to sky-rocket sales growth in the short-term and expose brands under its wings to new consumer segments.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, The Swatch Group currently has 17 brands under it, such as Tissot, Longines, Rado, and obviously, Swatch and OMEGA to name a few.

Trading brand equity for short term profits

We live in a free world, and we can do anything we want (except breaking the law), right? Wrong.

Although there are basically no restrictions to who brands can choose to collaborate with, choosing the wrong partner to collaborate with can deal a devastating blow to a brand.

In MoonSwatch’s case, pairing Swatch, a basic everyday watch brand (worth approx. USD100) with OMEGA, a luxury brand (worth approx. USD2000 – USD60000+) that is renowned for its high-quality watch moulds and stellar reputation is not a good idea.

It may be great for Swatch as an everyday watch brand, but what about the fans of OMEGA? Suddenly the brand isn’t so prestigious anymore with millions of these flooding the market.

Look at the similarity of the design. To the untrained eye, it’s an OMEGA.

Now everybody can fly own an OMEGA.

Don’t think owners of the Moonwatch will be too happy about it. Let’s face it, aside from being a well-built watch, people wear OMEGAs because of the social status that comes with it too. That’s why we tend to associate ourselves with brands in the modern world.

And to make things worse, crafting an affordable entry-level watch means the company has to compromise on material quality, quality control, etc. I mean, come on, cheap things aren’t good and good things aren’t cheap.

Soon after the global launch hype of the MoonSwatch, complaints from disgruntled owners started to appear online on social media platforms.

Oh boy, these watch enthusiasts weren’t impressed. Unhappy customers were complaining about how the watch feels “super cheap and plasticky”. Some said the straps were “garbage”.

For those who sweat a lot (pretty common for us in the tropical climate), they’ve basically got a new tattoo that they didn’t ask for – the dye on the back of the watch was staining their wrists.

With so much hype surrounding the collaboration between 2 titans that are focused on producing high-quality watches, the reviews of these unhappy customers definitely did more harm than good to the brands.

It was a brilliant marketing tactic, but it backfired.

Collaborate, but be wise about it.

There are a ton of collaboration opportunities out there. Before you jump into an opportunity, ask yourself this as a brand owner…

#1 – Does the collaborating brand share my brand values?

#2 – Will the collaboration empower or undermine my brand with my target audience?

If the answer is “No” for #1, walk away immediately.

If the answer for #2 is “No”, then find an angle that empowers both brands. If the answer is still “No”, then don’t collaborate. It’s better for both brands to stay as is so that we don’t end up in a tangled mess.

As a brand owner, if you do not have a clear answer to both questions above, then you don’t understand your brand and what it stands for. You’re basically leaving your brand on autopilot.

We suggest that you schedule time to work on crafting your brand fundamentals – your Who, What, Why, How.

Should you need professional help, let us know. We’re happy to assist you in hashing it all out.

Like what you’ve just read? Share this with your friends!

Share this: