Hublot Loves Football. For an entire month, from June 12 to July 13, the Swiss watchmaker has been moving to the Rio de Janeiro beat. From its base at a boutique hotel right on Copacabana Beach – dubbed the “Hublot Palace” for the duration of the tournament – the Official Timekeeper of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ has been spotlighting the groundbreaking nature of its strategic partnership with football’s world governing body.
“Be the first, be unique, be different,” was the philosophy applied to all of the brand’s activities by Jean-Claude Biver and Ricardo Guadalupe when they took over the reins at Hublot in 2004. Seeking a platform to project Hublot’s strong association with sports, they turned to football, becoming the official timekeeper for the Swiss team shortly before the 2006 World Cup.
“This carefully considered strategic choice heralded the start of our phenomenally successful partnership with football,” says the firm’s Marketing Director Philippe Tardivel. “Hublot was the first luxury brand to take the bold step of investing in this new territory.” Almost ten years later, the strategy has certainly proven successful: Hublot now partners several of Europe’s top clubs (including Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint Germain) as well as leading personalities in the game, like Pelé, José Mourinho and Radamel Falcao. “Every day brings renewed confirmation that Hublot is also the preferred watch brand of professional footballers and fans alike,” adds Philippe Tardivel.
Hublot took its partnership with football to the next level in 2010, when it was chosen by FIFA as the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of the World Cup. This unique status provides a platform for the firm to build its brand at a global level. The Swiss watchmaker has enjoyed a high-profile presence throughout the 2014 tournament thanks to the use of the special Hublot-branded referee board, aligned with the distinctive Big Bang watch design. The board is held up by the fourth official to show additional minutes of stoppage time played at the end of a match, and signal player substitutions. “This is a world first, a genuinely exceptional marketing coup,” enthuses Philippe Tardivel. “We are showing off this amazing product to billions of TV viewers in a way that is completely integrated with the game!”
The partnership with the 2014 World Cup is also reflected across all of the brand’s communications media, particularly digital channels. “A dedicated website has been set up, packed with original content that showcases our expertise as a watchmaker while providing direct links to our full product offering, including the official World Cup watch,” adds Philippe Tardivel. “The same goes for our advertising strategy, which is focused on our “Hublot Loves Football” campaign, and our role as FIFA’s Official World Cup Timekeeper.”
The campaign spotlights all of our brand ambassadors via a series of portraits in which they pose with a ball specially decorated by the renowned Brazilian artist Romero Britto. The same decorated ball design is used as the case for the Official Watch of the World Cup, providing a direct link between the Hublot family and the product – a Big Bang watch that enshrines the very best of Hublot’s expertise, and features the UNICO movement.
The World Cup has also provided an opportunity to energize Hublot’s sales network. Stores and points of sale have been decorated in the campaign colors, and the best-performing partners have been invited to experience this unforgettable event live in Rio de Janeiro. Over 1,000 partners stayed at the “Hublot Palace” base on Copacabana Beach throughout the four-week tournament. “The entire Hublot team has really gone all out to make sure they enjoy a truly unique experience,” concludes Philippe Tardivel.