Sport sponsorship is critical to building brand recognition for Hublot. Its biggest expenditure every four years is the deal to be Official Timekeeper for the FIFA World Cup, but in 2019 attention turns to the slightly more sedate world of cricket as the Swiss watchmaker sponsors this summer’s World Cup in England and Wales.
Hublot’s chief executive Ricardo Guadalupe needs a crash course in the rules and traditions of cricket, he admits to WatchPro when we meet at the watchmaker’s Bond Street store in London in the build-up to this summer’s ICC Cricket World Cup that starts on May 30.
“I am more of a football man,” he concedes when probed about whether the Kookaburra white ball will reverse swing and whether England should play Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in a twin spin attack.
Fortunately, Hublot also has brand ambassador Michael Vaughn on hand to deal with the cricket punditry for what will be this summer’s biggest sporting event in the world.
Hublot loves the global reach of sport, which is why it is Official Timekeeper for both the FIFA Football World Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup. In 2015, the cricket tournament was held in Australia and New Zealand and attracted an estimated global audience of more than one billion. This summer’s outing held in England and Wales could be even bigger. Cricket also reaches parts of the world that football cannot.
“We know that India is obsessed with cricket, so that is a great opportunity for Hublot to get its name out in such a key market,” Mr Guadalupe says.
There are myriad alliances between watchmakers and sport, but Hublot says it wants to focus where it can dominate. “Football and cricket World Cups are global events and we want Hublot to be the only watchmaker associated with these platforms,” Mr Guadalupe describes.
“It is far more effective to dominate the events we go for than to spread ourselves across multiple sports or to be one of many brands for a particular sport,” he adds.
Brand ambassadors are always part of the marketing mix, and Hublot has lined up an international dream team that includes England legends Michael Vaughn and Kevin Pietersen, two players who will forever be associated with England’s 2005 victory in the greatest Ashes series of all time.
They are joined by Australia’s Michael Clarke as an Official Ambassador, and Indian limited overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma as a Friend of the Brand.
Mr Pietersen strode to the crease at this year’s Baselworld to present an official Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph watch for the World Cup.
It has a number of design touches to mark the association such as grey and red detailing on the dial, satin-finished and polished ceramic bezel and leather and rubber strap are inspired by the colour palette of this year’s event logo.
The hands of the twin counters for the chronograph minutes and small seconds are shaped like cricket bats; the triple appliqué hour marker at 12 o’clock mirrors the stumps and the sapphire case back is decorated with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 logo.
Only 100 are being made, a reference to the century target that every respectable batsman aims to reach every time they stride out to the middle.
The limited edition watch is expected to be on sale only in Hublot’s boutique on New Bond Street.