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How I Would Have Marketed the Apple Watch


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Stumbled across this story recently talking about how the Tag Heuer CEO, Jean-Claude Biver (whose name itself sounds like a luxury brand) claims that the luxury Apple watch Edition has a “huge problem” – obsolesence.

Like Mr. Biver, I busted on the Apple Watch myself in a previous blog of mine. Which is saying a lot coming from me, myself a big Apple fan and user. Since writing that, I know a few people who have purchased an Apple Watch and couldn’t be happier with them. Made me wonder why I’m sooooo not in the camp they are. And it finally occurred to me. These are all “watch” people to begin with. I’m not.

See also: Apple Watch? I’m Not Buying It

So, there you have it. If someone is already a watch wearer, they’ll likely be pulled into Apple’s gravitational marketing vortex and will have to buy an Apple Watch against their will.

Well, maybe not. As Mr. Biver related in the aforementioned article:

They’ll likely be pulled into Apple's gravitational marketing vortexSpeaking to CNBC on Monday, Jean-Claude Biver said: “Above $2,000,” or £1,310, “the connected watch has a huge problem. There is no eternity, it means it will become obsolete, and who wants to buy a $10,000 – $20,000 watch, that becomes obsolete after five or 10 years?”

I can see his point. Although I do think he’s way off on the window of obsolescence. As I’m sure Apple will be trying to upgrade their watch users every 2-3 years.

Apple is all about turnover. Get it? Apple turnover? Anyway …

Apple is all about turnoverApple wants us to upgrade our iPhones every two years (and wish they could get us to do the same with our iPads). A fine watch like Tag Heuer could be a working heirloom for generations to come. While spending the same kind of coin on a luxury Apple Watch doesn’t make sense. This is why …

I think Apple is marketing the Apple Watch completely wrong.

I think Apple is marketing the Apple Watch completely wrongApple is as fine a marketing machine as there’s ever been. And now, they’ve gone from being the geeky hobby computer platform of the early Macintosh years to a mainstream giant that’s marketing its newest product as a luxury brand. I’m sorry, but every Apple Watch looks the same to me. And being that they all run the same software and, consequently, function the same, simply switching out bands and having the face encased in different metals does not a luxury brand make.

See also: Successful Brands Know the Crowd

Apple wants the Apple Watch to be your one and only watch. When, in fact, it only needs to be one of your watches.


Rather than form over function, I believe they should have gone function over form. Rather than featuring the watch on the cover of Vogue and other magazines, as if this is going to be your fashionable morning-into-evening watch, I’d market the watch to be activity-specific wearable tool. Heading to the gym? Let’s track that progress. Tooling around campus from class-to-class? Here’s a watch to help students navigate their schedules. And keep them safe in case of emergency. Travel a lot? Here’s a bunch of easily accessible apps to get you where you’re going.

The iPhone as a name made perfect sense. We all need to have a phone. However, we all don’t need a watch.

The iPhone as a name made perfect senseIn short, Apple Watch doesn’t have to be your only watch. It can be part of your arsenal. So, go out and get that Rolex or Tag Heuer fashion statement if you must. But if you’re going out for a jog, or traveling across country, or out riding a bike, or participating in a cooking class, or at a sporting event and must know all the latest scores, maybe that’s when you’ll get the most benefit out of having a multi-function “watch” that has specific apps for specific activities.

To position the product differently in the minds of us non-watch enthusiasts, a name like iWrist or Apple Wrist might have been more appropriate.

To position the product differentlyToday’s buzzphrase is “wearable” technology. Not “watchable” technology. Positioning Apple Watch as a useful tech tool that happens to sit on your wrist and does neat stuff is fine. Don’t try to pass this off as a luxury item, because it isn’t. It’s a multi-purpose tool. While Apple has been trying to channel the great Swiss tradition of fine precision watch-making, maybe they should have been promoting what the Apple Watch is really more akin to. The Swiss Army Knife.

About The Author

John Parrish
John Parrish is Vice President, Creative Services for Marketing In Color and has worked on brands such as Outback Steakhouse, Madico Window Films, Pitney Bowes, Progressive Auto Insurance, Edwards (United Technologies), Kash n’ Karry Food Stores, Home Shopping Network, The Villages of Florida, CareCredit, Dollar Rent A Car, Super Kmart, and dozens more.
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