Countering the "Swatch completely F&^%'ed this up!" or "Swatch are a bunch of evil geniuses"narratives

So, it's my own fault for spending time on Reddit, where everyone is a troll and flame wars erupt every 10 seconds, wherein different Redditors threaten each others' lives and promise to murder one another's families over disagreements on color ways, but I'm truly amazed at how the MoonSwatch narrative has evolved over time.

We keep seeing all these posts along the lines of:

  • "Swatch completely F&^%'ed up this launch!  Worst product launch I've ever seen in my life!  How could they only have 150 watches per store, when they knew that there would be 1,500 customers lined up outside???"  Or,
  • "They did this on purpose!  They knew there would be 10,000 people lined up at each Swatch location to buy these watches!  It's dangerous to have that kind of crowding!  They're specifically endangering lives and limiting supply to create hype!"  Or, 
  • "They're pulling a Rolex!  Creating a product that nobody can get!"

So, wanted to offer up a set of observations that might counter either of the "they're totally incompetent" or "they're evil hype geniuses" narrative.

  •  Originally, on 3/21, some info started popping up on different sites, teasing the Swatch x Omega collaboration, for example here:

https://www.watchcrunch.com/thewatchcomedian/posts/new-partnership-what-do-you-expect-5823

  • People got all excited, and it was understood that on Saturday, 3/26, there would be a big reveal!
  • Then, Revolution Magazine accidentally broke embargo and published their story before the 3/26 embargo lift!  And we all started to notice, and info immediately then began leaking on Reddit, per this thread:

https://www.watchcrunch.com/morganthedruid/posts/omega-x-swatch-collaboration-not-sure-if-it-has-been-covered-here-but-this-is-something-that-really-excites-me-5897

  • Once Revolution published, they couldn't get the cat back into the bag.  Sure, Revolution took the story down, but by then Redditors had already disseminated all the info far and wide
  • At that point, Swatch simply lifted the embargo and allowed all the different media sources to begin publishing all their videos and articles, etc., etc.
  • It's only then that people went bonkers and the MoonSwatch became the #1 topic on Hypebeast

So, knowing this, imagine what this launch would have looked like if things had gone according to plan, and if Revolution hadn't screwed the pooch:

  1.  Lots of teasers and lots of online speculation, but no concrete details about this cool thing that's supposed to happen on Saturday, 3/26
  2.  Come the morning of 3/26, all the media outlets would suddenly  let us know that there's this new MoonSwatch thing, and to buy one you gotta go to the following Swatch stores, but also, don't worry we'll be putting these for sale online too
  3.  A bunch of people go to the Swatch store, and either they're the first 150 and get one, or they don't, but are told, "Don't worry, we'll have more later, and they'll also be available online"

Everyone is saying, "They should have known there would be 10,000 people camped out overnight to pick up the MoonSwatch!"  Well, no.  

  • 50% of product launches, even those run by the most sophisticated consumer packaged goods companies in the world, wherein they spend $100M dollars on R&D, market research and testing, focus grouping, pilot launches, etc., etc., fail.  Swatch Group had no idea how popular this might or might not be
  • They had no idea that 10,000 people would line up.  Why?  Because they hadn't planned on Revolution accidentally breaking embargo!  And once Revolution did break embargo, you got 3 days left to plan?  You ain't got time to do anything except field all the media calls, etc., etc.

It's so weird that the narrative is so bi-modal:  Swatch is either the world's biggest incompetents, or they're the world's biggest evil geniuses.   How about...  they're normal people, trying to make money, and stuff happens that you can't anticipate?

But, then again, years and years ago, during a training and professional development course at the firm I worked at, we spent a week working on "influence techniques" to be deployed with clients. There were 10 different ones, like "appeal to authority" or "appeal to friendship" or "appeal to values," etc., etc.  One of the techniques was, "logical reasoning."  The psychologist leading the course very specifically told us, "You all believe in numbers and statistics and reason.  So, you'll deploy Excel and your pretty charts showing your numbers.  I will tell you now, do not use the logical reasoning technique with clients.  It doesn't work.  And, in fact, more often than not, will simply backfire."

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Thanks for sharing my friend. very well laid out. 

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“Do not use the logical reasoning technique with” can and should be applied when dealing with enthusiasts and collectors, especially in a what might (probably, imo) be a bubble market and especially in a male-dominated domain. As evidence take a look at any watch forum, including this one, where enthusiasts are justifying their favorite discretionary purchases, defending large corporations as if they were vulnerable people, or describing their favorites as “better than” some other one or even “the best.” I blame the desire to apply logic where it shouldn’t be applied to decades of over-attention and excess value placed on the opinions of economists, who, as a general rule, write away emotions and non-Western ways of seeing the world. For a good watch, see “The Toxic Culture of the Economics Profession.”

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I dont blame swatch for what happened. As far as i know it was an accident that it was leaked early. If it wasnt leaked so soon, it would have been handled better, but again, its not swatches fault. I think the main issue of why this happened tho was the hypebeasts finding out about it. Flippers took a big percentage of the spots in line from us real enthusiasts because they think they will make profit. i think we are all a bit sad that it happened this way, but its good news it will be online and able to be purchased by the people that truly want one. 

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Thanks for the background, it all makes sense. Sounds like overall they handled it pretty well. 

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I was at the Montreal release. Even thow they knew how many MoonSwatches they had in stock they refused to tell the people in the line up. They wanted to keep the streets full for publicity and made most of stand us outside for 6 to 8 hours without an answer. 

The employees were circulating up and down the line and when asked how many watches were inside the store they would say "we cannot give you that answer".

The watch is neat, yeah I like it. I happen to be a very positive person. The proof is the lack of a negative comment in my MoonSwatch journey to Montreal video.

https://youtu.be/tWHLaINP57E 

But I had to take on this post and tell you what I saw with my own two eyes. Very disrespectfull from Swatch not to tell us "Go Home guys, there aren't enough watches from this point on". 

Anyways, it is what it is 😂.

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SimplyVintageWatches

I was at the Montreal release. Even thow they knew how many MoonSwatches they had in stock they refused to tell the people in the line up. They wanted to keep the streets full for publicity and made most of stand us outside for 6 to 8 hours without an answer. 

The employees were circulating up and down the line and when asked how many watches were inside the store they would say "we cannot give you that answer".

The watch is neat, yeah I like it. I happen to be a very positive person. The proof is the lack of a negative comment in my MoonSwatch journey to Montreal video.

https://youtu.be/tWHLaINP57E 

But I had to take on this post and tell you what I saw with my own two eyes. Very disrespectfull from Swatch not to tell us "Go Home guys, there aren't enough watches from this point on". 

Anyways, it is what it is 😂.

Dude, that sucks. Yeah, if the store workers knew their inventory, they absolutely should have come out to let everyone know to go home. 

Were there store employees in the store throughout Friday night and Saturday morning? I mean, can you imagine being an employee, and suddenly the store is asking you to give up your Friday night, and come in and stay up all night in the store??!

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I expect they relished the hype storm.  Normally and correctly we have zero swatch news on watch blogs/videos/websites.  

This got so big it made the mainstream news.

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Funny you mentioned redditors threatening to unleash holy war on each other for having different opinions about a watch company.🤔😂 

Makes this little corner of Watchtopia seem so …rational   

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HotWatchChick69

Dude, that sucks. Yeah, if the store workers knew their inventory, they absolutely should have come out to let everyone know to go home. 

Were there store employees in the store throughout Friday night and Saturday morning? I mean, can you imagine being an employee, and suddenly the store is asking you to give up your Friday night, and come in and stay up all night in the store??!

No, the employees arrived Saturday morning. College age, around 18 to 20 years old. They did know there inventory though. They were instructed not to tell us by Rick Ostrom himself, the Swatch Canada managing director. He was present at the Montreal store on Saturday just observing from the inside.

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At the end of the day, the Swatch Group made money, and will make further money from this. They win, and they were the only player in the game.

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It has been pure gold to watch people lose their minds in so many different ways. And judging by the response, we can now see that watches are way more important to people than you can possibly imagine. It blows the idea that smartwatches are killing the industry. It disrupts the status quo about what is seen as valuable. It takes a huge shot at Rolex just ahead of watches and wonders. It put an advert for Omega's flagship watch on the wrist of thousands of people all over the world, and they paid for the privilege of doing it. 

I've loved every moment of this. Well played, Omega.... well played!

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You mean well played Swatch Group; Omega and Swatch are part of the Swatch Group.

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Fieldwalker

I expect they relished the hype storm.  Normally and correctly we have zero swatch news on watch blogs/videos/websites.  

This got so big it made the mainstream news.

...

Funny you mentioned redditors threatening to unleash holy war on each other for having different opinions about a watch company.🤔😂 

Makes this little corner of Watchtopia seem so …rational   

Yeah, totally agree.  I mean, this is one of those "once in a generation" things.  When is the last time you've heard about thousands of people lining up outside of stores worldwide for a product launch?  The only thing that comes to mind for me is Apple products in the aughts.

Then again, I live under a rock, so maybe these sorts of things happen all the time for products for young people that hit #1 on Hypebeast?

As for the Internet...  it's a cesspool.  Probably because, "People... they're the worst!"  I have a friend who likes to say, "Eh...  I cried at the end of Avengers Endgame.  The hero lost."  😜

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SimplyVintageWatches

No, the employees arrived Saturday morning. College age, around 18 to 20 years old. They did know there inventory though. They were instructed not to tell us by Rick Ostrom himself, the Swatch Canada managing director. He was present at the Montreal store on Saturday just observing from the inside.

Amazing.  I congratulate Rick Ostrom for being an evil genius.  😂

It's funny how all the different retail locations seemed to act independently and chaotically.  I've read that some refused to open their doors entirely, and had police come to disperse the crowds without selling a single watch to anyone.  Others handed out tickets to the first X people in line, in accordance with inventory levels.  Others allowed the mad rush into the store.

I'm just imagining what it must have been like in the store.

18-year old Chip shows up for his morning shift.  "WTF???  Yo, Jeanette, why are there 10,000 raving lunatics outside?  I mean, I brought Cards Against Humanity.  Looks like we won't have time to play, like we always do."

Jeanette calls the Manager, Joe.  Joe doesn't pick up, because it's 6am Saturday morning, and Joe did 5 lines at the nightclub and stumbled home at 3:30am.

Jeanette:  "Yo, Joe isn't picking up."  

Chip:  "F&^% that!  I'm not dealing with this S&^%!  I'm calling the police.  And then, well, we can play Cards Against Humanity."

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Richierich

It has been pure gold to watch people lose their minds in so many different ways. And judging by the response, we can now see that watches are way more important to people than you can possibly imagine. It blows the idea that smartwatches are killing the industry. It disrupts the status quo about what is seen as valuable. It takes a huge shot at Rolex just ahead of watches and wonders. It put an advert for Omega's flagship watch on the wrist of thousands of people all over the world, and they paid for the privilege of doing it. 

I've loved every moment of this. Well played, Omega.... well played!

Can you imagine if you're a marketing exec at Rolex???

CEO:  "Jones!  Swatch and Omega just broke the Internet with this whole plastic Speedmaster thing!  What do we have lined up for Watches & Wonders???"

Jones:  "Well, Mr. Dufour, sir, coming on the heels of our success with the laser-etched palm frond Datejust, we're pushing the bounds of laser-etching to go extreme with the tropical theme!  Behold!  The laser-etched Polynesian Dancers!"

1,138 Hula Dancing Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

CEO:  "Yes!  Along with the new Everose Gold Explorer, we will take back the limelight from those fools at the Swatch Group!  Bring the fire!!!"

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Probably the best summary of the situation #federicotalkswatches

https://youtu.be/yZ80nS8Yelg