Fratello’s Top 5 Worst Watch Brand Ambassadors Ever
It’s Friday, and that means another Top 5! This week’s topic is a follow-up to last week’s list. We decided to shake things up a bit compared to previous weeks where we focused solely on watches. Last week, we took a look at the five best watch brand ambassadors, so this week, we have compiled a list of the five worst. It was shortly discussed in the comments of last week’s article, but let’s address it properly!
As I mentioned in last week’s article, brand ambassadors are a recurring topic of conversation within the world of watches. Referring back to Lex’s article that I also mentioned last week, there are a lot of questions about why watch companies pay certain celebrities to be the face of their brands. And I don’t mean questioning the business principle of a brand ambassador. It’s safe to say that we understand why brands do it, but it’s not always done well. As Lex touched upon, why are there so many seemingly obvious mismatches in the world of watch ambassadors? And it’s these odd pairings that we want to focus on in this article.
It’s about the right association with a brand
As I said last week, by definition, brand ambassadors are not meant to target purists and connoisseurs. These people know what they want and do not need a famous face to help them appreciate a certain brand or convince them to buy one of its watches. Rather, ambassadors are paid to become the face of a brand to increase awareness with a bigger audience. If lots of people associate a watch brand with a famous face, they might also relate to the brand that the person is endorsing.
As Thomas perfectly explained in an article last year, celebrities help to drive brand perception. But what about the obvious mismatches — the famous faces that do not fit the brand or that are clearly only in it for the money rather than the love for the watches they endorse? That’s what this week’s list is all about. Fellow Fratelli Woke-N-Broke and Christian already started last week in the comments section. So without further ado, here are the five worst brand ambassadors ever. As always, the list is the starting point of a hopefully fun debate, but here are our five “least favorites” for now.
Lady Gaga — Tudor
From day one when this partnership was announced in 2017, it felt like a complete mismatch. Watch fans all over the world raised their eyebrows when these two seemingly opposite entities teamed up. With the #BornToDare campaign — that is still the brand’s marketing slogan — this strange partnership came to fruition. Even the posters that were made had a strange visual disconnect. The progressive nature of Lady Gaga’s personality expressed in her clothes just didn’t seem to match the retro-inspired style of Tudor’s timepieces. And the way Gaga plastered herself to a glass door while wearing a Tudor Black Bay Burgundy also looked unsettling.
It begs the question of whether this was the right match from the start. But the bigger question is, obviously, what the possible benefits for Tudor could be to team up with her in terms of brand association. Lady Gaga’s worldwide reach on social media with an extremely dedicated following is massive. It’s bigger than the brand itself could ever reach on any social platform. So yes, probably more people have come in contact with Tudor that otherwise wouldn’t have. But in the end, you can question whether the people who saw her wear a Tudor watch have been running to the Tudor AD’s or have even associated Lady Gaga with the brand. I’d venture a guess that the majority of people who love Tudor don’t associate the brand with her at all.
Brad Pitt — TAG Heuer and Breitling
Whereas I put George Clooney on last week’s list of best brand ambassadors, his buddy Brad Pitt deserves a spot on this list of the worst. It’s not even because he could not have been the right face of a brand. But at this point, I ask myself, what brand? Pitt was the face of TAG Heuer from 2002 until 2008 when he was replaced by Leonardo DiCaprio. Eleven years later, Pitt became one of the faces of Breitling along with Charlize Theron and Adam Driver (#squadgoals). And ever since the beginning of the partnership in 2019, Pitt was seen wearing exclusively Breitling watches in public and in movies. That was until this year when Pitt was spotted wearing the 18K yellow gold Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222. And currently, Pitt’s face is nowhere to be found on the Breitling site.
So why would Brad Pitt be a bad brand ambassador? It’s not so much that people do not pay attention to his face attached to a product. The guy seems cool, he acted in several good movies, and he is indeed quite popular. But it’s also a well-known fact that Pitt loves to wear Rolexes, Patek Philippes, Cartiers, and, apparently, Vacheron Constantin watches. It begs the question of why he makes for a believable brand ambassador if he likes a variety of watch brands and models. Because of this, Pitt is a great example of a brand ambassador that seems to work for the money rather than the brand itself.
Presley Gerber — Omega
We all know Cindy Crawford as the face of Omega’s ladies’ watches. Crawford became an ambassador in 1995 and remained with the brand for more than 25 years. It’s the kind of loyalty that I greatly respect, and I salute the partnership that Omega and Crawford had for so long. Back in 2017, Omega announced that her kids Kaia and Presley Gerber would also become faces for the brand. While Kaia grew into a supermodel with a worldwide presence, her brother Presley did not. At the time that the partnership started, both were teenagers pushing very expensive watches from a serious luxury brand. To say it was an odd pairing would be an understatement.
It was especially odd for Presley Gerber because he became the face of the Omega Railmaster. And not the brilliant Railmaster from the 1957 Trilogy that came out in 2017 but the revamped version that was presented at the same time. Omega presented the collaboration with the Gerber siblings as a representation of “the next generation of watch fans.” While that may be true, you can seriously ask questions about what the benefits of an endorsement of an 18-year-old boy are for a serious watch brand like Omega. While I do not underestimate the power of the partnership with his sister, I doubt whether Presley Gerber’s name attached to the Omega Railmaster has sold even one more watch. Much love to his mother and all she did for Omega, but her son was not the magic ingredient to sell more Railmasters.
Tom Brady — Movado, TAG Heuer, IWC
With his active playing days behind him, the chances of Brady getting another watch deal are slimmer than they used to be. But he did have a few during his days as a superstar in the world of American football. And it seemed that he “loved” all of those brands equally because he told the same story multiple times during his ambassadorships. Early in his career, Brady could be seen wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, although not as an ambassador. But Brady started as a brand ambassador for Movado in 2007. The brand created the awful, oversized Series 800 for Brady, measuring a whopping 48mm in diameter. Movado even created 12 examples in gold that sold for $20,000 at the time.
After Movado, Brady moved on to TAG Heuer in 2015. He was announced as the new face of the brand by none other than Jean-Claude Biver while simultaneously introducing the Carrera Heuer 01. Brady also proudly talked about how his first watch ever was a TAG Heuer, so it seemed like a match made in heaven. As an ambassador for TAG Heuer, Brady became the face of the “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” campaign, one that we all probably do not remember. The special Tom Brady Carrera Heuer 01 with the huge number “12” in the minute counter probably didn’t help…
From IWC ambassador to simply wearing a Rolex
In 2019, Brady joined IWC and once again told a story about his first watch. This time, the first watch he bought was an IWC GST Chronograph Rattrapante. While the bigger audience probably doesn’t notice or even care about these repetitive stories, they remove every shred of believability that Brady is genuine in what he says. And as a brand, I would consider that a problem. Don’t get me wrong; I am not blind to the fame that Brady brings to any brand he connects his name to. As our reader Eunona said last week, “…the total picture is all about money and the illusion of being not.” Brady is just not the best at keeping up that illusion.
And only a couple of weeks ago, we saw Brady cheering on his friend and tennis star Novak Djokovic at the French Open. During the final at Roland Garros, Brady could be seen wearing a very nice platinum Rolex Day-Date 40 equipped with an olive-green dial with Eastern Arabic numerals. I am not implying that Brady does not wear his IWC or TAG Heuer watches anymore, but in so many instances, we have seen famous people fresh out of an ambassadorship (or even during one) wearing a Rolex. Sometimes reality is just that simple. And while I salute Brady for his Day-Date, his believability as a great storyteller for watch brands disappeared long ago.
Lenny Kravitz — Jaeger-LeCoultre
The last place on this list is more of a question for you than an answer from our side. We heavily debated whether Lenny Kravitz is the right ambassador for Jaeger-LeCoultre within the Fratello team. The majority of the Fratello team thinks it’s a mismatch. Thomas and I, however, are a little more positive. I get why the brand has teamed up with Kravitz and why he connected with the Le Sentier brand. With Lenny Kravitz, Jaeger-LeCoultre takes on board an ambassador that is a unique character with a massive worldwide audience. He is authentic, loves his design classics, and is an avid collector of a variety of different things. So I think that Kravitz appreciates the rich history of the brand and, more particularly, the Reverso that he endorses.
Having said that, the question is whether Kravitz is the right person to push the brand to a bigger audience or whether Kravitz and Jaeger-LeCoultre are simply too different. If people connect to the brand thanks to Kravitz, it will most likely be a new audience for JLC. Let’s just say we think the current Reverso audience is a little less extravagant and more conservative than Kravitz. But there is nothing wrong with pushing the brand in different directions. Whether it is the right direction or not just remains to be seen. It is a question that will be answered as time passes. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the latest Jaeger-LeCoultre partnership with Lenny Kravitz?
Final thoughts on the worst watch brand ambassadors
Of course, this list could have been a lot longer and different. We just try not to take things too seriously when it comes to this topic. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of other people that could have been on this list, though. There are simply so many ambassadors that have been a total mismatch with brands. We read about Boris Becker for IWC, John Travolta for Breitling, David Beckham for Tudor, and Bradley Cooper first for IWC and now Louis Vuitton in the comments last week. So tell us which watch brand ambassadors you think either are not or have not been a good fit for brands. We will see you next week for another Top 5 list.