Abhishek Bachchan has emerged from his father, Amitabh Bachchan’s, imposing shadow. Not only is he one of the most sought after actors today, brands too are chasing him for endorsements. Bollywood’s emerging superstar is believed to be a hot contender to become the Indian ambassador of Omega Swiss watches, a subsidiary of the numero uno global horological company, Swatch Group. Sonali Bendre-Behl is already a brand ambassador of Omega watches. Global celebrities on the Omega roster include Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Michael Schumacher and Michael Phelps.
Omega International is expected to make an announcement to this effect in March-end during the Baselworld 2006 annual fair for watches and timepieces.
Earlier, there were rumours that another Bollywood superstar, Salman Khan, would be roped in by Omega to pit him against Shah Rukh Khan (brand ambassador for Tag Heuer watches) and Aamir Khan (brand ambassador for Titan).
Incidentally, the announcement was scheduled to have been made in January 2006, but was postponed on account of Amitabh Bachchan’s hospitalisation. Also, from Omega’s point of view, Abhishek’s rising popularity in the UK and the US will add to his acceptance.
At a recent visit to India, while unveiling Omega’s first exclusive Omega boutique in New Delhi, Raynald Aeschlimann, Vice-President-International Sales, Omega, had said, “We are in talks with a lot of eminent personalities and celebrities. Bollywood stars have become internationally famous and renowned. Yes, there are a lot of rumours and we shall make an important announcement pertaining to the Indian brand ambassador during Basel 2006.”
“Soon, we shall be announcing a new brand ambassador for the Indian market. After all, we are the pioneers in the appointment of brand ambassadors in India. Others have followed us and now, we are gearing up for the second phase. However, the fact remains that we are clear that the appointment of the new brand ambassador will be in sync with the brand personality and essence of Omega,” Aeschlimann added.
G Kannan, Country Manager, Swatch Group India, said that the opening of the new exclusive boutique was an endeavour to strengthen Omega’s presence in India and the watch brand aimed to open three more boutiques by the end of 2006. Omega also plans to launch a new James Bond collection to coincide with the release of the new Bond film.
Elaborating on the advertising and brand endorsing strategy for Omega, Aeschlimann said, “Broadly, we wish to hog the best space, be it in print, television or other consumer touch points. However, all communication is in sync with the brand essence and the brand DNA. The emphasis is on all the brand lines such as Constellation, Seamaster, Speedmaster, etc, as well as our brand ambassadors such as Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Michael Schumacher and Michael Phelps.”
Commenting on the Indian and Chinese markets, Aeschlimann said, “China is a completely different market. And the evolution of Omega is very different, though it is extremely fabulous. We have celebrated 111 years of Omega’s presence in China. In China, we have 30 boutiques in all the big cities. We are a brand leader and ahead of every other brand. That’s the way forward in India, and we are moving fast. We are replicating whatever we did in China and perhaps other innovative elements. It’s in coherence with what we are doing in all the other key markets across the world.”