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Breitling takes to the skies with Facebook promoBy Rachel Lamb
Swiss watchmaker Breitling is using Facebook to promote the “Spirit of Aviation” photography contest in which the winner, selected by brand ambassador and actor John Travolta, will receive training for his or her private pilot’s license.
Breitling is using its Mr. Travolta to woo affluent potential pilots and brand enthusiasts. The company is likely to garner a lot of attention from this unusual promotion.
“There are certain products where the category is a lifestyle and aviation is one of them,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. “Breitling has successfully branded itself so as to become synonymous with aviation.
“That being said, recognize that those who fly jets are generally aspirational luxury consumers,” he said. “Also, those that own the jets, of course, can afford any watch and as many luxury watches as they desire.
“There is a silent brotherhood among aviators.”
Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Breitling, but has agreed to comment as a third-party industry expert.
Breitling did not respond by press deadline.
Consumers can upload up to five pictures to the Breitling Facebook page that depict what aviation means to them.
Contest on Facebook
All photos must be original, taken by the consumer and cannot be retouched or edited.
A panel of aviation heroes, including Mr. Travolta, will judge the final entries and select the winning photograph. Participants can enter through May 17.
Brand ambassador, actor and pilot John Travolta
The first-prize winner will be sponsored by Breitling when he or she goes for their single-engine pilot’s license.
The second-prize participant will be flown to Dijon, France, where he or she will go on a ride with the Breitling Jet Team.
Consumers can also browse other entries and check out the panel of judges on the Facebook contest page.
In addition, participants can invite their friends via posting the competition on their Facebook walls.
Not winging it
Breitling is first and foremost a watch manufacturer, so it must be pointed out that there is no mention of any products, even as placement prizes, for the winners.
Is this a poor judgment call?
“Brand leaders focus on the category, not their product,” Mr. Ramey said. “This promotion will further indelibly connect the relationship between Breitling and flying, and it will sell watches.”
Indeed, even if products are not being pushed in the contest, there are links to products on Breitling’s Facebook page as well as places to visit on the official Web site.
Breitling is solidifying itself as a lifestyle brand, not just a product-pushing machine.
The watchmaker is known for its sturdy yet elegant watches that are built to withstand enormous pressures and speeds. This is why it is a favorite amongst athletes such as pilots and deep-sea divers.
The brand is striving to connect with its consumers and is doing so through a passion that it shares with its customers.
“This particular promotion works because flying is an art coupled with education and skill,” Mr. Ramey said.
“Add the design of the planes and jets, coupled with outside effects and it becomes clear why aero-themed pictures are so compelling,” he said. ”It is art.”
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