On Friday, Égard watches released a hugely emotive, no-holds-barred “pro-freedom” video on YouTube. As of Monday morning, the video racked-up 410k views. Will it alienate the hard core watch buying public, attract new consumers to the brand, both or neither? Check it out . . .
I’m sure the video’s narrator – Égard owner Ilan Srulovicz – didn’t contemplate the commercial implications of his right of center polemic very long. Judging from the tone of the piece, his need to stand up to censorship (and stuff) outweighed any financial concerns. Besides, this isn’t Égard watches’ first rodeo.
Previously, on Who Wants to Be A Conservative, Mr. Srulovicz responded to Gillette’s ad condemning “toxic masculinity” in his What is A Man video (above), then took on the Defund the Police movement with #speaktruth (below).
As Égard is still in business we can assume that its owner’s decision to use his company to promote his politics hasn’t dinged the watchmaker’s access to market. The company sells online; a retailer backlash isn’t a thing.
As for marketing, Égard can certainly kiss goodbye any chance of seeing Égard watch reviews, sponsored posts or online sales at HoDinkee – home of champagne socialist editor Steven Pulvirent. Then again, not even HoDinkee could generate the 1.3m views garnered by the #speaktruth video, no matter how much you paid them for audience access.
Strangely, or not, Égard’s website doesn’t mention Mr. Srulovicz’s conservative stance or last week’s cancel culture comeback.
“The Story of Égard” link activates their Legacy video. Released in August 2018, it sets the standard for targeting viewers’ emotions (rather than focusing on anything as trivial as watch specifications). There’s some hypnosis at the end, but it’s sales-oriented and there’s no indication of a political agenda.
What does ANY of this have to do with watches?
It pays to keep in mind that it’s the nature of Égard’s political stance that makes it an outlier, not its decision to take one. We’ve highlighted Oris, IWC and Breitling’s “greenwashing”, and OMEGA’s unspecified charitable contribution to Orbis.
There’s no doubt today’s watchmakers feel obliged to align themselves with political/social causes to move the metal. Or at least elevate the CEO’s significant other’s social status at swanky cocktail parties (remember them?).
I reckon watch companies should stay the hell away from politics, no matter what the marketing gurus say about “aligning your corporate values with those of your consumers.”
While there is such a thing as a Trump watch (reviewed here, in fact), I don’t see timepieces as political objects. I see them as a combination of technology and art. Then again, I have written about Panerai’s and Rolex’s connection to Italian Nazis and my reluctance to buy an IWC Pilot watch because of its association with the Luftwaffe.
The great thing about this country is that I can write about those things without fear of censorship. So hats off to Mr. Srulovicz for speaking out to protect freedom of speech – which enables me to proclaim I’m not a big fan of his watches. But that’s a story for another day.