In the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, Leon Breitling opened a small workshop in 1884. Specializing in chronographs for scientific purposes, he launched a business that has expanded into one of the most respected and admired Swiss watch manufacturers on this planet… and on the way to extraterrestrial places.
The history of Breitling dovetails a brawny chronicle of human flight. Breitling has contributed to a meticulous industry by engineering chronograph technology onto the wrists of intrepid pilots, giving them measurement capacities needed to propel aviation into the stratosphere and beyond.
As the twentieth century marched forward, Breitling became the official supplier of the British Royal Air Force, as well as the American armed forces. Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a COSMONAUTE Breitling during his orbital flight on Apollo 7.
Breitling’s meticulous chronometers are of value to those who measure and monitor progress and performance in flight, but the handsome watches also embody distillations of male aspiration: functionality, bold design, craftsmanship and exclusivity. The company creates a fine watch for any man, pilot or not, to own and to display on his wrist.
Breitling declares its mission in a terse marketing communication theme: “Instruments for Professionals.” These are not just precision watches for professionals but tools every man can appreciate.
I’ve never given much attention to luxury watches or had a pressing need to own one. A reliable Seiko has served my humble needs. But I understand better now than ever before the value and magnificence of precision watch technology, and I owe this to my chance encounter with Breitling’s website at http://www.breitling.com.
This astonishing web experience reflects the heritage, quality and status of the company in every possible way, communicating imagery men understand and relish. It moves a 124-year-old mission into the 21st century with pitch-perfect branding.
The web experience begins with a Flash intro, where you learn of Breitling’s ties to aviation and a quixotic suggestion that this company may be its own air force. The masterfully edited video drips with testosterone, aligned with many historical and cultural experiences buried in the psyches of Boomer men.
Most of us who grew up in the fifties and sixties at some point in childhood and adolescence became fascinated with aviation. We built model airplanes. We fired off model rockets. We became entranced with television coverage of the Mercury and Apollo space programs. We became captivated by Tom Wolfe’s book and movie adaptation called The Right Stuff. A fair percentage of us attended air shows with our fathers and buddies where we witnessed the huge spectacle of precision acrobatic flight, such as those rush-filled antics of the Navy’s Blue Angels.
After seeing the hyper-charged opening video, you land on a home page where Breitling’s bold CHRONOMAT sets the exact date and time where you sit. Flight sound effects and archival black & white aviation videos complete your multimedia immersion.
When you click on a “Technology” hyperlink, you arrive at an interactive page where you can watch videos that help you understand the true dimensions of legendary Swiss craftsmanship. These videos reveal each precise manufacturing step and delicately complex technological point of differentiation.
If you want to be entertained more than informed, you can click on a hyperlink called “Air Time,” and you cyber-fly to a webpage offering four energetic videos. There you also learn that Breitling sponsors the only private precision jet flight team. This gives new dimension to sports marketing.
Although Breitling doesn’t call direct attention to its most economically viable market, Baby Boomer men, the company aligns with our values through attitude, imagery and details.
Once captured by this masculine website, we can spend as much time as we wish exploring layers of information, from watch models to an absorbing overview of the company’s long history. (By the way, the only obvious mistake I discovered on this marketer's website was Breitling's claim that Scott Carpenter wore a watch on the Aurora 7 space mission, not Apollo 7.)
We enter the world of precision aviation and feel those adrenaline kicks when technology meets passion. We consider a vicarious sense of aviation accomplishment that would come with admiring our own Breitling wrist sculpture. Which model? Which color?
For those of us flush with cash, we can jet to the companion Breitling for Bentley website where two stalwart companies demonstrate the synergistic powers of co-branding: exceptional design driven by honored brand images, mixed with interactive engagement.
If you’re a Boomer man, I challenge you to spend a worthwhile 30 minutes drilling into and through this website. It’s a state-of-the-web experience that will call to you in ways that are thoughtful, passionate and congruent with dreams you’ve carried with you from childhood and puberty.
Another measure of this company’s marketing achievements can be verified with Google. If you type “Breitling watches” into the search engine, then http://www.breitling.com ranks first in results. This challenges a myth that standalone Flash websites can’t achieve the highest rankings when competing against older HTML and text-based sites because of the nature of search engine algorithms. Since Boomer men constitute one of the most aggressive segments using internet search-engines, a top web search ranking is critical.
This is how marketing to Boomer men can be done with the right stuff. Wow.