|Hublot's adverts featuring Mayweather should feature this background music.|
For those of you who don't know Hublot, it's a maker of flashy, bling-bling watches of the sort a chap like Mayweather would like, festooned as they are with gold and jewels. Chintzy trinkets for tawdry people. Watch-collecting cognoscenti in the know tend to disdain the brand for this very reason--it's flash over substance. True, Hublot has tried to remedy this image by making movements in-house for its latest timepieces instead of buying (relatively inexpensive) ones from someone else not on par with the prices they're charging, but the image persists. For an analogy, think of Hublot as the Dre Beats of watchmaking instead of headphones--all marketing hype but little substance that more discerning buyers can observe.
I am afraid that Hublot did itself no favors by selecting perhaps the most hated man in sports as their celebrity endorser. For an undefeated American champion, Mayweather getting lustily booed in his hometown speaks volumes. What kind of feel-good factor do you get from hiring Mayweather as your endorser? Anyway, to the press blurb for the Hublot endorsement:
Today, luxury Swiss watch brand Hublot had the honor of hosting a press gathering with 10-Time World Champion Floyd "Money" Mayweather to announce their sponsorship of the future Hall of Famer for his highly anticipated match-up against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
To mark the occasion, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe presented a King Power WBC Full Pave with Emeralds to the undefeated champion, who will also wear the Hublot brand name on his boxing trunks on Saturday night. In line with Hublot's "First, Different, Unique" brand ethos, Mayweather has previously never had a brand adorn his boxing shorts. The Presentation took place minutes before the boxer took the stage for the highly touted Weigh In.
"Everyone knows I am a big fan of luxury watches and Hublot is one of them," said Mayweather. "I am extremely grateful for their support and I look forward to adding the King Power WBC Full Pave with Emeralds to my collection."
Once upon a time, Tiger Woods had a clean-cut image that advertisers desired. (He also used to win major tournaments on a regular basis, but alas, time has moved on.) After details of his salacious personal life began to emerge, though, most left until few remained. It is thus puzzling why anyone would choose a convicted woman beater only released from jail in the past few years as a product endorser. Is he not toxic enough? This controversy was resurrected recently when female reporters who had investigated the domestic abuse were denied press credentials for the yawner of a fight.
Meanwhile, the boxer remains unapologetic:
Perhaps Mayweather's apparent elusiveness in the ring is also evident outside of it as his well-documented history of beating women up--something which severely tars other athletes--has not really affected him that much commercially-speaking. In any event, Hublot has chosen to open itself up to potentially massive criticism in heaping praise and money on a social pariah. Somehow, being "The Woman Beater's Watch" doesn't strike me as a particularly effective marketing ploy.Questioned by CNN reporter Rachel Nichols last year about his abusive behavior, Mayweather showed little remorse. He noted that there were "no pictures ... just hearsay and allegations." He has previously said he should not be compared to O.J. Simpson or Chris Brown because there are no pictures of the women he has allegedly abused -- as if the lack of video or photographic evidence is equal to exoneration. In fact, Mayweather spent several months in jail in 2012 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault charges.
What is astonishing here, however, is that the public is willing to overlook Mayweather's misogynistic, violent behavior outside the ring. Consider how well all the hype over the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is paying off. The Los Angeles Times reports that gambling on the fight is expected to be heavy, with one MGM Resorts official estimating the total amount of wagers at $80 million. The 16,800-capacity MGM Grand Garden Arena has sold out, generating a record $74 million.Mayweather, whom Forbes has named the highest-paid sportsman in the world, is set to take home $180 million for the fight.Such collective indifference by the public of Mayweather's domestic abuse is curious considering other incidents involving football players. After video surfaced of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée (now wife) in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator, he was temporarily suspended by the NFL and later dropped by the Baltimore Ravens.
What self-respecting woman would wear a Hublot watch knowing all this?