Wall Street Journal

Luxury car brand Aston Martin branches out into watches

Isaac Mostovicz writes that selling luxury to a Lambda personality means understanding both how he sees himself and how he wishes to be seen...


While there was not doubt that Aston Martin is a brand aimed strictly at Lambda personalities, the recent product release by Aston Martin proves it anyways.

Coming optional with the purchase of a new Aston Martin Rapide is a $33,000 watch. And with this watch and your new Aston Martin Rapide, you can lock or unlock their car doors by simply touching the sapphire-crystal face.

Only a handful of individuals can afford to buy even the Aston Martin. Even fewer could afford the optional $33,000 watch. The timing of this is interesting, because while the global recession is receding, it is not completely over, yet.

Watches are a much-loved item amongst Lambda personalities, because they bestow status and are durable. They’re seen as investments and heirlooms.

During the worst pont in the recession, The Wall Street Journal published a column “How to sell a $35,000 watch in a recession”, which offers a look into the new methods that luxe retailers are using to keep sales moving.

After years of double-digit sales growth, sales of Swiss watches have fallen off drastically. Watchmakers like IWC—a 140-year-old company whose watches are considered collectors’ items and generally cost between $3,000 and $300,000—are having to re-learn the old-fashioned art of salesmanship.

The ‘old-fashioned’ art of salesmanship that is used is selling the experience as tantamount to the product itself. In luxe, people buy because it looks good, feels good and it makes them appear important.

He used PowerPoint to impart what he calls the “macaroon technique,” referring to the sandwich-like French macaron pastry. This can be applied to most any product (including, presumably, a Xerox machine) and goes something like this: “Madam, this timepiece (or diamond or handbag) comes from our finest workshop and it has a value of $10,000. If you buy it, your children are sure to enjoy it for generations to come.”

This tactic by Aston Martin to package the watch with the car is an extension of the salesmenship methodology talked about in the Wall Street Journal article: Show a Lambda personality how well their new, ultra-exclusive watch works with their new, ultra-exclusive car.

The expression also suggests the person will have a long family line, which causes them to envision their children and grandchildren as Lambda personalities, enjoying and cherishing this watch that their father, also a Lambda personality, purchased years ago and passed onto them.

A  true Lambda Personality won’t be able to resist it, and Aston Martin knows this.

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