How to use print and media relations for launching a luxury product


The famous italian brand, made a worldwide ad campaign for the launch of its new watch : Octo. You could find 4 dedicated pages in the International Herald Tribune, in October 2012.

With this campaign, Bulgari is positioning as a luxury, and crafted men watch-maker, as legitimate as others Swiss-tradition watch-makers. Bulgari conveys the message that its watches are the representations of a real expertise and know-how. The brand uses a cognitive tactic, by giving technical features in order to raise rational appeal. The objective is to emphasize on knowledge from the target audience : men who are passionate with watch-making and possess a real knowledge of this field.

The focus is also put on the bold design of the watch (the octogon shape) which will enable customers to differentiate themselves from others. Here, the brand is trying to trigger liking and preference from the customers.

This ad campaign could be expanded with direct e-mailing. Sales assistants can target the same audience than the campaign, and contact potential customers to raise their awareness on the new product AND build Bulgari brand image as a legitimate watch-maker.  



Bulgari is an Italian luxury brand specialized in high jewellery and watches. Originally, it is a familial brand, founded in Roma by Sotirio Bulgari in 1884. The company was purchased by LVMH in 2011.

The brand decided to partner with the International Herald Tribune for the launch of its new watch, the Octo. The print was created by Bulgari and was released in all the versions of the magazine throughout the world. On the edition of Oct 18th, you could find four pages dedicated to the new watch, including one extra-page on the front page. This was an exceptional operation, in France only, the daily newspaper edit 10,000 copies, which represent an important visibility for the brand.   


The message of the campaign is that Bulgari, well-known for high jewellery, is also a watch-maker, as legitimate as the Swiss watch-makers brands. This industry is dominated by great names of the Swiss-tradition watch-making and Bulgari conveys the message that it is also playing in the same field, knowing precisely what it is talking about. With this ad campaign, the brand is positioning as a luxury and high quality watch-maker, whom watches are symbols of excellence, know-how and craftmanship.


The text describes precisely the model, from both technical and aesthetical points of view. Regarding to the technical features, the consumer is given numerous explanations : type of movement and mechanism, weight, materials used... Bulgari is conveying the message that its watch is beautiful from a technical point of view, because the Octo embodies high quality, craftmanship, and expertise. Bulgari is using a rational appeal here, with facts and figures which are consistently part of the precision science which is watchmaking. In this perspective, the message is delivered using a cognitive tactic, describing the Octo watch in an objective way. The goal for Bulgari with using this type of tactic is to reinforce knowledge (as part of the hierarchy of effects) from potential customers. This tactic is particularly put on evidence on the last page of the ad campaign, with the last lines which summarize the technical performances of the watch : « manufacture caliber », « 50-hour power reserve »... The executional framework is informative here : the brand presents the data of the new watch in a pretty straight-forward way. However, let's take a look at this picture :

It displays the reverse of the watch, which reveals the complex mechanism of it, and in the same time the high degree of craftmanship within the product. Bulgari uses demonstration as its executional framework here : showing the product in action. The name of the brand is engraved in the steel, which reinforces the idea that the watch is « made by Bulgari », authentificating their know-how.

The stage involved here in the decision making-process is information search. After all, before being a luxury product, a watch is firstly a functional product, whom goal is to tell time in the most precisely possible.


Nevertheless, the campaign uses also an affective tactic in the message delivery, when it comes to the design of the watch. Octo is said to be the achievement of perfection, with its octogonal shape, which is claimed to be « harmonious and balanced », and gives particularity to this watch. The brand is communicating here on differentiation, thanks to an original design, that no watch-making brand has ever used. It is a way to create a point of difference between the brand and the competition, « the new Octo watch establishes new benchmark in the world of men's watch », « a distinctive architecture ». By purchasing the watch, customers will adquire a concentrate of quality and craftmanship, but they will also be able to differentiate themselves from the crowd with a distinctive watch. Here the strategy is to increase liking and preference from potential customers, which is consistent in this highly competitive market.


The high level of technical precision given and the positioning of Bulgari in this ad shows that the brand is targetting to men who are passionate about watch-making and already have a high degree of knowledge in this field. They are the only ones who will really be able to understand the technical facts, and consequently, to know the real inherent value of the product. They will also be those who are most likely to be able to use it. Among this target audience, we can assume that the brand try to target more precisely at Chinese men. Indeed, relatively to the number eight of the octogon, Chinese people will see it as a positive sign since it is an auspicious number, signifying good fortune. One can think this point is a little far-fetched but let's not forget how attractive Asian markets are for luxury brands.


Furthermore, the campaign is relayed on a special website (en.bulgari.com/campaign/octo) where content was created in order to emphasize on knowledge, liking and preference effects.

This video showing the different steps of the creation of the watch emphazises on both rational and emotional appeals. The rational appeal, conveyed by the images on which we see the different parts of the process, is linked with the emotional appeal thanks to the music, as if a connection was created between the gesture and the emotion. In an other perspective, people interested in watch-making can find detailed information texts about watch-making techniques.

On the contrary, we barely see the product in this video. The brand seems to put the focus on the emotional aspect, suggesting elegance and style with lighting effects reminding the chiaroscuro of Italian Renaissance painters, and geometrical shapes which reminds the geometry of the watch... The objective is to convey emotion, and then trigger liking and preference.


This campaign already used two marketing communication tools : print/media promotion and digital marketing. It could be expanded using direct marketing, and more precisely direct e-mailing from sales assistants. As a first step, they will identify among their current customers those who are interested in watch-making and among the married couples women who would be likely to purchase a gift for their husbands. As a second step, they will send them e-mails to make them aware of the new model of watch Bulgari just launched. Even if direct marketing may not be recommended to push sales, the timing here makes it quite consistent since the campaign was released in October and Christmas is coming. If sales assistants contact directly their customers, it will help to connect with the customers, and building a long-term relationship with them, they will feel rewarded as it shows that their sales assistants know their tastes, and took the initiative to call them. In other perspective, it allows sales assistants, who are the very first representatives of a brand, to build the brand image as they will convey the message that Bulgari is a legitimate watch-maker, and creates exceptional pieces such as the Octo.

Daba Diokhané / Comm 335-2 / 10081292

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