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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- 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."