U.S. luxury watch king Rolex was the top watch advertiser by far in the United States in 2008. TNS Media Intelligence, which tracks watch advertising across 17 media categories, estimates that Rolex spent $49.30 million on ad placements last year. The figure is more than $20 million more than the number two advertiser, Breitling, which spent $28.92 million, according to TNS.
Overall, brands spent $381.4 million on watch advertising in 2008, according to TNS data. That was down slightly (-1.5%) from the record $387.6 million spent in 2007. Still, the total marks a 60% jump compared with the yearly amount spent on watch advertising five years ago.
Here are highlights of the TNS data:
*The ranking of the top five spenders remained the same as in 2007, with TAG Heuer ($24.73 million), Citizen ($19.85 million) and Movado ($15.87 million) in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively (see Top 25 table).
*A 58% boost in spending by Omega ($14.59 million), which last year heavily promoted its role as the official timer of the Beijing Olympic Games and a sponsor of swimmer Michael Phelps, moved the brand from tenth to sixth place on the list. Omega nudged rival Cartier ($14.41 million) into seventh place.
*Two brands in the top 10 of last year’s list fell out of the top 25 this year. Timex fell from #8 last year, when it spent $10.21 million, to #35 this year ($2.50 million). ESQ, part of the Movado Group, dropped from #9 in 2007 ($9.36 million) to #38 in 2008 ($2.14 million). Also cutting back sharply on advertising last year was Raymond Weil, which dropped from #12 to #24 ($3.33 million).
*Rounding out the top 10 advertisers for ’08 were Bulova ($12.01 million), Seiko ($8.84 million) and Gucci ($7.14 million).
*Four brands were notable newcomers to the Top 25 list this year on the strength of huge boosts in their ad budgets. Bell & Ross soared to #15 on the chart by nearly doubling (+94.5%) its ad expenditure to $5.31 million. Longines upped its expenditure 112% to $4.04 million to take 17th place. Breguet increased its budget by 58.4% to $4.20 million and moved into #18 on the list. A 109% increase to $3.68 million moved Jacob & Co. into the 21st slot. (Baume & Mercier also reappeared on the top 25 list last year. However, it was not a triumphant return: the brand ranked #9 in ‘06, fell off the list in ‘07, and came back at #25 in ‘08.)
*It’s worth noting that five brands in the haut de gamme segment of the market, which historically have done less advertising than brands with more mass appeal, continue to move up the rankings, a sign of the growing importance of the luxury watch category in America. Patek Philippe moved from #14 to #12 ($6.69 million). IWC Schaffhausen moved from #20 to #13 ($5.75 million). Hublot moved from #18 to #14 ($5.48 million). Ulysse Nardin moved from #21 to #16 ($4.56 million) and, as noted, Breguet moved to #18. Meanwhile, another haut de gamme brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre, dropped from #19 to #23 ($3.34 million).
*Three brands that held positions #23 through #25 last year – Montblanc, Carl F. Bucherer and Bulgari – did not make the (admittedly arbitrary) top 25 cut this year.
*The number of watch brands spending at least a $1 million on advertising in the U.S. last year was 65, down from 69 in 2007.
HEY, BIG SPENDERS
TOP 25 WATCH ADVERTISERS
U.S. Market, 2008
|15||Bell & Ross||5.31|
|19||Dolce & Gabbana||3.98|
|21||Jacob & Co.||3.68|
|25||Baume & Mercier||3.21|
Source: TNS Media Intelligence
U.S. AD SPENDING ON WATCHES
Source: TNS Media Intelligence