Fallon Shows Timex’s Metal

NEW YORK-Timex is putting more than $5 million into a national TV campaign behind its revamped Ironman watches, representing its biggest budget on a single product in more than 10 years.
The campaign, created by Timex agency Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, breaks Sept. 23 during ESPN’s International Ironman Triathlon and unveils Ironman’s new look and line extensions to a broader TV market. Heavy rotation begins Sept. 29 during sports-related programming on network and cable TV and will run through December. NFL coverage on NBC and Fox is a particular target, in addition to an especially heavy run planned across ESPN, ESPNews and ESPN2. Combined, these three channels will often show the spots more than 10 times a day.
The spots, in 15- and 30-second versions, focus on Ironman’s durability. “Time can be stopped,” a narrator suggests, as a scene depicting a trio of mountain bikers crossing rugged terrain toward a finish line is abruptly stopped. As time freezes, the camera zooms in on the watches, which are still keeping time. The ad tags with, “Timex Ironman Triathlon watches keep going.”
In an edgy creative departure for Timex, the spots feature a technique called “Temps Mort,” in which the camera appears to weave in and out of the frozen image, creating a 3D effect. Created by the ad’s director, Emmanuel Carlier of Planete Spots, Paris, the technique uses hundreds of still photographs shot from different angles that are pieced together through editing and morphing, creating the sensation of a moving, three-dimensional view of stopped action.
Timex expects the creative to hold the interest of a hip, male market prone to channel-surfing. Even without advertising, Ironman is the world’s biggest-selling watch, with sales of $3.5-4 million units a year, according to Timex advertising and public relations director Susie Watson.