Friday is a big day for Christopher Ward.
It is the day the British watchmaking company launches one of its most important watches of this year, and it will support that launch with its first ever television advertising campaign, although only on UK channels.
Speaking to Rob Corder in our new series of WatchPro Originals video interviews, Christopher Ward’s co-founder and managing director Mike France said his business philosophy has always been to zig when others zag, and he has seen past recessions as great opportunities to grab market share. “I’ve always rather enjoyed them,” he reveals.
Christopher Ward sells around 25,000 watches per year directly to consumers via its own ecommerce site. The UK and United States are the company’s primary markets. It has no wholesale operation and no retail partners.
This gives the business an automatic advantage during this crisis because it has none of its own stores to close, and no retailer partners shuttering their own doors.
It is also highly experienced at reaching out across the web and social media to generate demand. This led to sales rising by more than 70%, year-on-year during the first two weeks of April while other brands were seeing revenue collapse.
The company had already been planning for a big launch of a new watch that is currently under embargo, but will be unveiled on Friday online, across social media and with a television advert.
Television viewing figures are up around 40% during the crisis and, with many brands pulling their advertising, the cost of slots has dropped, Mr France explains.
So, for significantly less money, you reach considerably more potential customers — irrefutable logic in the eyes of Mr France.
The Christopher Ward advertising will appear across Sky channels in the UK including Sky 1 and Sky Witness where, Mr France believes, curiously-minded men, the key target market for the brand, can be found.
The advert was shot over the long Easter weekend, when the country was in lock down, obeying strict social distancing measures, Mr France says.