TAG Heuer Gets Strong

Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s first campaign for TAG Heuer uses athletes and a stainless-steel backdrop to illustrate the durability and “inner strength” of its watches.
Six print spreads juxtapose shots of specific watches with life-size portraits of the likes of Boris Becker, basketball player Grant Hill and sprinter Marion Jones. Under the theme “Inner strength” is a quote reflecting each athlete’s approach to winning. “I drew my strength from fear. Fear of losing,” says tennis star Becker. “I don’t remember the games I won, only the ones I lost.”
The ads are in black and white, except for the red and green in the logo and color on each watch face. The work breaks in June magazines such as Fortune and Vogue.
TAG Heuer’s last work, by BDDP in France, used the theme, “Success. It’s a mind game,” and depicted a man leaping over a hurdle-sized razor and a swimmer racing against sharks.
“It captured the intensity of sports, and the notion of mental toughness,” said Christian Viros, chief executive of TAG Heuer in Switzerland. “But looking toward the future, our most important objective is enhancing the prestige of the brand.”
The category, however, is relatively cluttered with ads for cheaper watches that also celebrate their robustness: Swiss Army Brands’ ads from Mullen have a military feel and carry the tagline, “Swiss Army equipped”; Swatch’s campaign by Toth Design & Advertising, tagged “Irony,” shows various watch models emerging from pools of liquid mercury; and work for Timex’s Ironman line focuses on the brand’s durability under tough conditions.
This year, TAG Heuer will spend more than $10 million on advertising in the U.S. and $45 million worldwide. BBH in London inherited the account after BDDP sister shop Wells BDDP began to unravel. Saatchi & Saatchi here places the ads in the U.S.