Skagen Holst watch

8 February 2016

Just A Second Here: A Quick Note About Watch Marketing

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Amateur Horologist…

I love watches, particularly inexpensive ones that make up in design what they might lack in craftsmanship or materials. I’ll crave a quartz-powered $200 Seiko any day over an automatic Rolex that costs more than my car. (I would argue that the quartz Seiko keeps better time and requires less maintenance, too.)

So when I’m relaxing between projects, I browser-window shop for watches.

One brand that always catches my eye is Denmark’s Skagen, a mass-market brand owned by Fossil and manufactured in China, but with Scandinavian design flair. You can find Skagen watches at Costco, Amazon, and other major retailers for under $200.

Now, unless you’re a materialist like myself, you’ve probably never heard of Skagen. That’s because they don’t advertise. (Why mass marketers do that to themselves, I’ll never understand.) At the same time, Skagen’s website uses a word I’d never employ in watch marketing. Quote…

“Our Holst Multifunction Leather Watch features a tailored design and timeless silhouette.”

Call me picky, but I prefer my watches to be timeful. I’m just funny that way.

Another issue I have with “timeless” is that it refers to something that doesn’t belong to any era and will never look dated. I’m guessing you could say that about most silhouettes, no? I’m struggling to think of silhouettes that are time sensitive. Alfred Hitchcock’s, perhaps?

So, Skagen, I love your work. Really. And if you’d ever like to hire a marketer who knows to NOT use the word “timeless” to describe a timekeeper, give me a shout. I might be willing to work for a watch — or ten. But who’s counting?

Skagen retargeting ad

Sometimes I feel like somebody’s watching me… (retargeting ad by Skagen)

Update 2/10/16: I guess Skagen does do some form of advertising — retargeting (aka, stalking) ads. Since I visited their website, I’m seeing Skagen ads — complete with the watch pictured in this post — on various sites, such as LinkedIn. Unfortunately, no discount, so who’s got time for that?

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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