The headline for IWC’s Pilot watch: “Engineered for Aviation.” While the Rolex Yacht Master is “a chronograph created specifically for yacht racing.” I’ll get to the third ad later but if these two 4-figure watches were designed specifically for airline pilots and fancy boat racers how come it’s trust fund babies and hip hop stars that are wearing them?

This is basically a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious: pretentious myths appeal to pretentious people. The makers of these watches know as much. So do all of us in advertising. Hell, we make a pretty good living coming up with these silly fables.

Still, it seems oddly passé coming across such blatant paeans to materialism and SUCCESS. So eighties. With millennials wearing social causes on their sleeves it strikes me as odd to offer them something so bling-y to wear on their wrists.

Likely young people aren’t the target. Maybe these watches are for Gen-Y or Boomers trying to reconnect with their boyhood dreams of flying planes and sailing ships.

Or perhaps the copy is going for the authenticity vibe, you know, to try and impress people who assume watches made “specifically” for deep sea diving or flying jets must be damn fine watches.

The problem with all that is pilots have instrument panels for measuring barometric pressure and altitude, to say nothing of telling time. Honestly, I’m guessing most pilots wear the watch his/her spouse gave him/her for Christmas.

And who races yachts… really? Like one percent of the so-called 1%? Honestly, the concept of yacht racing is so f-cking annoying I can’t imagine anyone relating to it. Even the average rich person thinks yachts are for sheiks and douchebags. But that’s Rolex.


The third ad, for Tudor, suggests their watch is made for “several days walk from any trace of mankind.” It is what one wears on an “epic journey to the frozen expanse of the Arctic.” I’m not sure how this message would appeal to anyone. I guess with the oceans and skies already spoken for there was no place left to go. Oh well. Over the years, Automakers have sold untold millions of SUV’s promising their ability to traverse places none of their customers will ever go either.

(Full disclosure: With no intention of deep sea diving, I purchased a Rolex Submariner in 1996. I wanted something iconic and grown-up to replace the Seiko I still wore my mother gave me when I graduated high school.)

The Ritz Carlton has a new mantra: Let Us Stay With You.

From the press release we are told that it is far more than an a advertising campaign but rather “a series of guidelines which inform how we interact with our guests, which new products and services we introduce, how we train and evangelize our employees, and even our design décor strategy.” In other words: a mantra.

Let me start out by saying I like this idea from Team One. As a copywriter, the play on words are irresistible. As a creative director, I recognize the bigness in its conceit. And it is a conceit. But who better to manage conceit than the Ritz Carlton?

Great hotels (and bad ones) stay with us, as does travel. We remember those precious days or weeks more so than any other. The hotels we stay in have a mythic importance. Every gesture, every nook and cranny register. Again, it stays with us. Therefore, “Let Us Stay With You” has a lot of potential as an organizing principle.

Print ad, Ritz Carlton

The so-called “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen” has been the Ritz Carlton’s calling card for years. Yet, as a hotel guest and observer of marketing, I can’t help feeling the notion got swept under the carpet…forgotten. It’s not one thing in particular driving this opinion just a general malaise. In many ways I think other luxury hotels (Four Seasons, Peninsula) have hijacked the Ritz Carlton brand, pushing it (deservedly or not) into a second tier. And so I think –assuming the brand has done its “housekeeping” that now is the perfect time to reintroduce the Ritz and that this potentially could be the perfect message.

I say potentially because a set of words and pretty pictures are just a beginning, for the property as well as Team One.

Aside: Just as I was finishing this piece I got an email from the Ritz Carlton directing me to their website asking me to stay with them.