Swiss luxury watchmaker Longines has been closely associated with sporting events globally. Its tie ups include the events such as the Longines Singapore Gold Cup 2013, The Longines Grosser Preis von Baden 2013 in Germany, the Melbourne Cup Carnival – The Longines Mackinnon Stakes in Australia and the Longines Jockey Club Cup in Hong Kong.
The brand only associates itself closely with elegant sports that are performed by individuals, for instance, equestrian sports, show jumping, alpine skiing and gymnastics. This is a unified events strategy for Longines globally, Juan-Carlos Capelli, vice president and head of international marketing for Longines told Marketing Events.
Capelli added that the brand only comes on board as a partner for the event, and “never as a sponsor,” adding that anyone can give money to be a sponsor. He added that as a partner, the brand gives expertise and credibility to the sports.
Equestrian sports represent the values of elegance, being traditional and personal performance, whereas team sports epitomise a “strong” image, which is counterintuitive to what the brand stands for, e.g contact sports such as rugby, added Capelli, referring to Longines’ motto, “Elegance is an attitude.”
For instance, during the recent equestrian sport event Longines Singapore Gold Cup 2013 Longines collaborated with the Singapore Turf Club. Longines was also the official partner and timekeeper of Singapore Turf Club.
For the event, Longines hosted a charity luncheon in conjunction with the Longines Singapore Gold Cup. A total of SG$374,483 was raised for Community Chest while there was an SG$1.35 million prize purse.
Longines’ timepieces from the Conquest Classic Collection were also awarded to the winning jockey, trainer and owner.
The event also included an auction, with items such as a limited edition La Grande Classique de Longines watch donated by Longines being on auction.
Capelli declined to comment how much money is spent on events for the brand but said that events form a big part of the Longines marketing budget. There is also an increase in event budget for supporting equestrian sports events, year on year.
Its target audiences are largely male, though the brand is making a concerted effort to target both genders.
In Asia Pacific, its key customers are the younger crowd aged 30 and above, as well as those in the middle class. In China, with a larger affluent population, the consumers who purchase Longines watches are at least 18 years of age. Capelli also said that 50% of its revenue comes out of Asia Pacific. Another large market for Longines is Europe.
Capelli thinks that Asia will continue to account for a big percentage of the brand’s business, and the Middle East market for the brand will also continue to grow, with Brazil showing huge potential for its business.
Emerging markets such as Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam are also in its sights, he added.