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The French watch industry – A quest for renewal
April 08, 2005
By Antoine Menusier
Already a conflict marks the beginning of the year for the French watch industry. The affair is half funny but half bitter. A whole economic sector is up in arms against a cellular telephone company named SFR. What is all the fuss aboutı SFR recently launched an advertising campaign that certain people feel portrays the watch in an unfavourable light. Since the scene of the crime is France, these same people imagine that the tri-coloured timepiece’s reputation is at risk. The result is a vigorous and vociferous reaction by the French Watch, Clock and Micro-mechanics Manufacturers’ Federation (CFHM), which has decided to bring the perpetuators of this timely crime before the courts.
In a recent advertising campaign, the SFR employed some rather strange techniques to get the message of its low price calls across to the consumer. One of its posters proclaims ‘30 centimes per call, time no longer counts’ and beneath the slogan is a picture of watches and a comptois clock being sucked into a vacuum cleaner like rubbish. Other campaigns have a similar visual message using watches.
“This is too much,” said Patrice Besnard, the head of the CFHM. “It is very degrading and unfair,” continues this seemingly jovial man who is also as stubborn as a mule when the issue is important. “Never would they have represented the watch in such a demeaning manner in Switzerland. We are going to show the SFR what we think of this and what we are made of. They will think twice before denigrating the watch sector again.”
“Your heart was warm and happy
With the lilt of Irish laughter
Every day and in every way
Now forever and ever after."