15 April 2024
MoonSwatch Crisis Communications Review

Omega and Swatch MoonSwatch launch ends with need for crisis communications

When Omega and Swatch announced a collaboration to launch a MoonSwatch, they could only have hoped that the pre-hype publicity went as well as it did. Although, the end result was needing to deploy elements of its crisis communications plan.

The Omega Swatch MoonSwatch Situation

A week before the MoonSwatch became available the two brands announced their collaboration. The low price and likely high demand by consumers meant that the scalpers* out there got ready to hit the ground running. (*People who buy up as many of an in demand product as they can so they can resell via online auction platforms like eBay). With a relatively low sale price of just over £200 it was clear that there would be significant immediate demand even though there was no mention of it being a limited edition product.

The pre-publicity hype and media kicked in on launch day and, globally, there were significant issues around crowd control outside the stores. The majority of media concentrated its reporting on the issues in Singapore and London.

On the day of the launch it was also revealed that scalpers were able to achieve nearly 15 times the purchase price by selling the MoonSwatch on eBay.

Significant negative headlines covered this story from around the globe including, but not limited to, The Daily Mail, Yahoo (UK and Singapore, separate stories), Daily Express, Independent, South China Morning Post, Evening Standard and regional syndication via Press Association.

The MoonSwatch Crisis Communications Tactics

After just 30 minutes of the store in Carnaby Street being open, reports started to be made to the Police about congestion issues around the shop. Officers were deployed to the scene and it is likely that the Police Force’s own issue-management process kicked in and forced the shop to close down.

The brand faced accusations of being ill-prepared and this could be seen to be true given the hastily put together media statement.

“Swatch has closed its London stores for health and safety measures. Thank you for understanding.

‘We are very sorry but due to unprecedented health and safety reasons, we have had to close our Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and Oxford Street stores. We will update you soon.”

This could mean that the volume of people took the brand by surprise.

The Result

This had little to no brand impact on Swatch and certainly did not reduce demand in people wanting its products. In reality, the extra publicity of police intervention and the subsequent global media coverage will have helped the brand sell even more of its MoonSwatches.

At worst, the brand will face maybe a public nuisance fine from the Police Forces (individually) from around the world who had to attend the stores, but I would not be surprised if no further action was taken.

A very low key 2/10 Crisis Communications situation.

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