The experiment at the Oscars worked. Having no host put more focus on the art; the show’s pace improved (36 minutes shorter than last year!); and the presenters had more time to present their A game.
But that’s besides the point. The point is Rolex, who gave a master class on luxury marketing. Here is what I saw.
Use TV Selectively: TV is too mass for most luxury brands most of the time. Moreover, there is such a thing as too much advertising in this segment, reducing the special, aspirational element required to sell a luxury product. When you see Rolex, you know you are watching a big, tent-pole event, which reinforces the special quality of the brand.
Forget CPM: Luxury brands need to show up looking good. Your customers are buying more than a product. Present yourself that way, even if it costs seven figures in talent and $2.2 million every 30 seconds. There is nothing glamorous or luxurious about a digital banner ad, or the local news, or The Price is Right. They can easily be worse than doing nothing.
Sell the Company, Not the Product: Rolex focused on master craftsmen in the arts to tell their own stories. The ads had nothing to do with watches. Most people buy companies, not products, and Rolex simply associates themselves with excellence. Are the watches themselves the best product you can buy? Who knows and who cares. Rolex takes a much more subtle and emotionally powerful approach.
Sell an Identity: No one needs a luxury product. They just want it, because these products are rare and say something distinct about their owner. Is there anything more important than what other people think of you? Rolex sells accomplishment, and associate themselves with championship events in many spheres to make that point. It works. They don’t waste words or attention bandwidth on the technical qualities of the product, because for most people, they don’t matter.
For companies that make products, that is often all they want to talk about. Learn from someone who has been doing it for a while. Bravo, Rolex.