Why Rolex is not into Football or Baseball

I was thinking the other day about Rolex and the rather short list of sports that they associate themselves with.

Do you ever wonder why the list isn’t longer? Why doesn’t Rolex associate themselves with some of the more mainstream sports that attract a MASSIVE audience like football, basketball, American football, baseball and others?

Well I’ll tell you….

As you’ve probably seen, Rolex associates itself with Tennis, Motor Racing, Golf, Sailing and some equestrian tournaments. They would rather place desire for their products in the hands of sports that best represent the brand and its image. Sports that are watched by those that are in their target group, which is a totally different demographic. Rolex is not marketing to football and other mainstream sports because Rolex doesn’t need to prove the quality of their product. Or attract desire from a “mass market” because their watches are not a mass-market product. They can afford this type of selective marketing because they’re owned by a non-profit foundation that has no shareholders. There is no “shareholder pleasing” driving their money making ambitions.
This helps them to stay clear of trying to “profit at any cost”. It is for this reason that they have the strength and longevity to last for a very long time. However, their products do generate revenue and build the brand each year. Anything that they don’t spend on marketing is donated to their charities.

Why Rolex is not into Football or Baseball Prestige Watches

Their target group would tend to be a more affluent audience where product affordability is more likely, less of an issue. I am generalizing here a little (sorry about that but I hope you get my drift.) But it IS evidenced in the sports that Rolex DOES put their name to. Rolex likes to target people that frequently watch or play or are involved with tennis, golf, yachting, Formula 1 and equestrian sports – because this audience is likely to have the disposable income for an expensive luxury watch. It’s the niche clientele that Rolex likes to see naturally wearing and promoting their products and their brand. Now, we all know that, in reality, we people from all walks of life, earnings and job roles whether tradesmen or business owners or celebrities will wear a Rolex. But Rolex certainly have their preferred “wish list” when it comes to people they envisaged to be wearing their watches. Even though they are victims of their own success and the global desire of everyone and anyone to wear a Rolex is very broad.

The reason Rolex is not showing up in football, basketball, baseball, and other popular, less noche sports is because these are sports for the masses and Rolex is more selective with their target audience. Despite the celebrity players of these ‘mass market’ sports themselves being regular buyers of Rolex and often, the more flamboyant and ostentatious the better, it is unlikely you will see a football player being a brand ambassador or being sponsored by Rolex any time soon. Rolex as a company and a brand don’t like scandal or controversy or any negativity coming from their brand ambassadors, preferring a cleaner, more traditional, gentlemanly, more exemplary image style!

The Rolex style of marketing is through storytelling, victory and example setting.
They don’t simply sell a product to the masses, they use their marketing budget to tell stories to people and sports that set a good example to their target audience. They focus on telling stories of being rewarded for outstanding achievements. This strategy has given Rolex a huge advantage in marketing. Using this strategy, their watches have been seen on the wrists of some of the best athletes in these niche sports – whose elite athletes have been known to say that “their best moments were attributed to their Rolex”.

Why Rolex is not into Football or Baseball Prestige Watches

Testimonials from these athletes is the best marketing that Rolex has, not only because it is incredibly powerful marketing, but because it establishes Rolex in that sport. This has always been their strategy from the inception of the company. To get the testimonials from high achieving athletes about their watches.

From the start, they told stories about how their watch was worn on the hands of some of the highest achievers – going as far back to the story we all know with swimmer Mercedes Gleitze who, in 1927, swam across the English channel. Both Mercedes and the watch lasted the entire 10+ hours in the cold water. And the watch didn’t get any water inside the casing.
From this great achievement, Rolex kept marketing their product with other great attempts. They marketed to people who climbed the tallest peaks, crossed the polar ice caps, and broke the sound barrier. One of their biggest slogans was a “crown for every achievement” which created an image in the minds of their target audience that in order to earn their product there needed to be a great achievement by an individual.