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Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is journeying around the globe to reveal the travel-ready qualities of its Overseas timepieces.
The brand tapped photographer Steve McCurry for a project, the result of which is a series of images that capture 12 international locations. Further transporting consumers to another time and place, the brand has developed a series of 360-degree videos that enable the viewer to virtually travel to destinations including India and Mexico.
“[Vacheron Constantin] is a brand that exudes prestige, and so it has to communicate to a lifestyle that not everyone has, but everyone can close their eyes and picture,” Cassie Schultz, display media strategist at Blue Moon Digital, Denver, CO.
“With luxury watches, you have to think about the way people envision the brand, and combine that with what they see when they close their eyes and dream,” she said. “In this case, Vacheron Constantin is talking to the traveler, the culture enthusiast and the worldly person who might embody that experience.
“It’s both beautiful and aspirational—like the brand—and each of these iconic places represents something that could be achieved. It’s not about watches, it’s about a walk through a temple, a hike through a desert, a dip in the hot springs. I think they chose this approach to resonate these ideals with viewers.”
Ms. Schultz is not affiliated with Vacheron Constantin, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Vacheron Constantin did not respond before press deadline.
Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas collection is billed as “the ideal companion of travelers.”
The watches feature two or three interchangeable straps in steel or gold, alligator leather and rubber. These additional looks make the timepieces appropriate regardless of the locale.
One of the collection’s styles, the Overseas World Time, features 37 time zones around its watch face, allowing the wearer to keep track of time around the globe.
On a microsite, consumers can discover more about the timepieces and explore the visual project they inspired.
Each of the locations, which include Mexico, New York, India, China, Japan and Geneva, includes a photo gallery and a 360-degree video.
Playing off the different time zones, each city name is displayed with the current time.
In Geneva, Mr. McCurry takes the consumer inside the Vacheron Constantin manufacture, as artisans work on the brand’s watches in a modern glass facility. In the 360-degree video, the consumer takes a ride in a glass elevator, allowing them to turn and look as they ascend floors in the factory.
When in Mexico, Vacheron Constantin chose to immortalize the Aqueduct de Padre Tembleque, a technological feat that mirrors the watchmaker’s own skill and knowledge. Mr. McCurry’s photographs play off the architecture of the structure, using shadows to frame a horse and his rider or children playing soccer in the dusty environment.
For this scene, the 360-degree is a timelapse, allowing the viewer to see all around them as the sun sets.
New York’s Grand Central Terminal was also a destination for the series. Reflecting the unique access the brand got for this project, the photographs and video were taken at night, when the busy hub was almost empty.
In the video, the ambient noises of steps or announcements and the figures briefly seen on screen are more apparent.
The Overseas Tour with Steve McCurry – Behind the scenes Part I – Vacheron Constantin
Below each of the city pages, consumers can learn more about Vacheron Constantin’s watches that inspired the journey.
The microsite can be viewed here.
“This is a brand that understands that consumers are moving beyond marketing,” Ms. Schultz said. “We crave discovery and authenticity from brands, and Vacheron Constantin has done an imaginative and carefully executed campaign that leverages content to tell a story.
“Like the REIs and Anthropologies of the world, Vacheron Constantin is showing that we want stories, not just ads,” she said. “We want our brands to show us something about how we want to experience our lives, and who we appear to be.”
Luxury brands are embracing the immersive capabilities of 360-degree video.
French atelier Christian Dior is welcoming consumers to its founder’s childhood home in Normandy, France to better understand its Dior Prestige skincare line.
Mr. Dior was raised in Granville, Normandy in a villa, preserved by the brand to this day, that continuously acts as a source of inspiration for its wares, especially the property’s extensive gardens. Now a video shared to social media allows the consumer to feel as if they are visiting Granville through a 360-degree immersive experience (see story).
When used correctly, 360-degree videos can further a brand’s storytelling.
Recent months have seen a proliferation of 360-degree videos, but how much does the technology actually do for consumers?
The videos, which allow the viewer to click-and-drag the mouse to see all-around the “camera,” are especially popular in the automotive industry but have also seen use among other brands, including luxury conglomerate LVMH and U.S. apparel label Michael Kors. However, the technology can often feel more like a gimmick rather than a fully integrated marketing tool (see story).
“Because of the incredibly beautiful cinematography here, this 360-degree view is completely immersive for the viewer,” Ms. Schultz said. “Shot from a first-person narrative, you forget that you’re watching a video because you’re feeling an experience that is at once authentic and fantastical.
“The storytelling embodies something unrestrained and imaginative and shows real moments, the drip of an icicle, the wind in the trees,” she said. “These moments, when pieced together play an incredibly sophisticated and seamless rhythm, just like a walk through a forest or a climb up a glass staircase.”
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