Breitling, were recently the recipients of an influx of funding. What naturally follows is figuring out ways to try and recoup the investment. When investing in a company, investors will look at the value of the brand, the potential for growth, and whether the team is the right team to solve the problem the business exists to solve. So why on Earth are Breitling assembling their own superhero club, with Cinema Squad, Explorer Squad, and Surfer Squad? And what the hell is a “Squad Concept” anyway?
Investors need to 10x their investment. That’s their goal. This need for Breitling growth has got to be where this comes from.
“how we gonna 10x that investment, man?”
“let’s put together the A-TEAM!”
“George Peppard is dead, man.”
“I don’t feel too good, myself.”
“I know, what if we assemble crack commandos, leaders in their field, and have them go on challenges in Breitling environments!”
“Like a Hunger Games with famous people!”
Here’s the news: Breitling has assembled a Cinema Squad, Explorer Squad and Surfer Squad of celebrity ambassadors. Each squad has three celebs in it, and is meant to highlight the bond created by shared interests, apparently in watches and acting, exploring, or surfing. Breitling tells us that their shared values are action, purpose, and pioneering spirit, and they’re going to send these ambassadors on challenges to display those values.
Absolutely, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, Daniel Wu, and Adam Driver are accomplished actors, producers. Even if you don’t think much of Adam Driver’s acting in The Force Awakens, the Last Jedi, or that weak, unkempt hair grown on his chin and neck, he served in the US Marines and is a graduate of Julliard. I’m also unclear on how Breitling thinks four people in Cinema adds up to three people per squad, but they say,
“Breitling is pleased to announce the gifted actors who are the members of the first Breitling squads. This imaginative idea involves creating three-person groups (the squads) whose members are all recognized masters in their respective professions.”
I’m not sure what the imagination is, and I guess we won’t know until Breitling releases Breitling-sponsored short films like Phillip Torrone created for BMW, years ago. Seriously, The Hire was an excellent film series that Phil spear-headed, and I wish we had more of it.
Hewing a little closer to the idea of traditional ambassadors, there’s also the Explorer Squad and Surfer Squad. Explorer Squad makes sense: put Breitling watches on adventurers climbing mountains. Buried in the announcement of the Explorer Squad is the news that Breitling intends to become carbon neutral. On board the squad are Bertrand Piccard, who circumnavigated the world in a Breitling-sponsored hot-air balloon, David de Rothschild, who sailed 8000 miles across the Pacific on a catamaran floating on recycled plastic bottles, and Inge Solheim, who has led expeditions with Prince Harry, and recreated the race between Amundsen and Scott to reach the South Pole. Again, what adventures are Breitling going to send these remains unknown, but at least we can bet there will be YouTube video.
Lastly, Breitling needs to remind us desperately that they’re fans of more than just the air. For years, we’ve been watching the Breitling Jet Team and Yves Rossy take to the air, proudly emblazoned with BREITLING all over. But Breitling’s logo is a winged anchor, representing sky and sea. It’s about time we get back to talking about the sea. Traditionally, that means divers. Here, it means David de Rothschild of the Explorer Squad, and a dedicated Surfer Squad. After all, while diving seems cool, its not nearly as much fun or approachable as surfing. If you’re a watch brand, you want things people can identify with, not just dream about. Stephanie Gilmore is a six-time world champion and hall of famer in surfing. She and fellow Australian, Sally Fitzgibbons, have qualified in the world surfing tour repeatedly, and are without question some of the best the sport has to offer. Kelly Slater, an American, is the most winning-est surfer of all time. Holding 11 World Surf League Championship wins, and both the youngest champion at 20 and oldest at 39, he’s accomplished things that would be respected in any sport. As a part of this partnership, Breitling is working with Slater and Outerwear to make some environmentally friendly, sustainable straps and packaging.
I’m still not sure what to make of the Squads. I hope we see something interesting out of these ‘missions’, and I think that using surfers for the squad makes more sense than divers. At the end of the day, this is about publicity for Breitling. What I’d like to see out of it is a documentary video series that really shows the adventures they’re sending these squads on. Give us something that entertains, shows us all about the people and their missions, and doesn’t even have to highlight Breitling that much on the wrist. Put these people in the spotlight, rather than trying to glorify Breitling itself. Breitling should show us what people do with the watch, so that we can aspire to be adventurous, too.
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