Earlier this month TW Steel launched a publicity campaign to promote its partnership with new Superman film Man of Steel. TW Steel UK brand manager talks to WatchPro about swapping motorcars for movies, 2012’s UK sales and battling sliding high street footfall.
WatchPro: Tell us a little about how the Man of Steel partnership came about.
Mark Ryder: We were approached by the promotions company working on behalf of Warner Bros with the initial idea of working on a co-promotional deal. We were immediately interested and once we got further into discussions it became clear this was a great opportunity for the brand.
WP: Have you had a sneak preview of the film? And if so, is it any good?
MR: Not yet, although like 30 million other people I have seen the trailer on YouTube and it looks fantastic.
WP: The link between TW Steel and the Man of Steel is fairly obvious, but the brand is better known for its sports collaborations. Is film a new area for the brand, and is it one TW Steel is likely to link up with more in the future?
MR: As a brand, we have long-established roots in motorsport, however lately we’ve also been investing more into lifestyle and entertainment platforms, notably through our partnership with Kelly Rowland. We also enjoy a strong working relationship with Steel Entertainment Group, which manages a strong portfolio of DJs and artists, many of whom have performed at TW Steel events. Film is very much in the entertainment category and allows us a new audience to showcase the brand to.
WP: TW Steel is running competitions in the UK for retailers and consumers to tie in with the film, but how else will you be using the sponsorship to promote the brand?
MR: Alongside the competitions we are running a major print and outdoor advertising campaign in the build up to the film release in June.
WP: The TW415 chronograph has been chosen as the hero watch for this campaign. Do you believe this will increase sales of the model or is the campaign more about increasing brand awareness in general?
MR: I am sure the size of the campaign will drive sales of the TW415, along with the other models in the new Pilot collection, which is launched this month. However, the main focus for the partnership is to raise awareness of the brand to the UK consumer.
WP: How has TW Steel been performing in the UK over the past year?
MR: The last 12 months have been varied, with a strong end to last year showing there are still positive signs in the UK market. New product launched in the last quarter of 2012 has seen strong sales and we are looking forward to 2013
WP: What challenges are you facing in the UK watch market at present and how are you planning to overcoming them?
MR: Generally footfall seems to be down in the stores and customers are more demanding when parting with their money. We have to continue to offer strong product of great quality, and make sure we market the brand and the new collections as well as possible to continue to grow our market share.
WP: And finally, what is your personal kryptonite?
MR: I’m not sure I can answer this, my competitors will be reading it and I wouldn’t want to give anything away!