Posted on December 7, 2010
Ecclestone goes into shock advertising with stunning Hublot play | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Back in the 1990s Benetton ran a series of shock adverts, devised by photographer Oliviero Toscani, which helped to define and promote the brand very quickly. They were selling sweaters, but their posters showed a man dying of Aids, a death row prisoner, a nun kissing a priest.

Now F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was close to Benetton’s Flavio Briatore throughout those years, has revived the practice with an ad for the Hublot F1 King Power watch, the first official F1 watch.

It’s an amazing play; Hublot is a premium brand, with watches retailing for tens of thousands of pounds and this advert is going to stop people in their tracks. It’s risky, but totally inspired.


Ecclestone, 80, and his partner Fabiana Flosi were attacked by muggers outside his Princes Gate building in London last week and it was reported that the thieves stole a watch and jewellery worth over £200,000. Ecclestone dimissed these numbers, but in an inspired turn-around he has had himself photographed post-assault with a badly bruised face, saying “See what people will do for a Hublot.”

The ad sums up so much about Ecclestone; his sense of humour, his commercial eye and above all his toughness – can you imagine what a kicking like that would be like at any age, let alone for an 80 year old?

The advert provides its own complex social commentary; what kind of people would do this to an 80 year old man? What does it say about a person’s right to wealth and to have such expensive items on their wrist making them a target.

And it will cause the general public to see Ecclestone in a different light, although the ads are mainly targetted at media outlets catering to high net worth individuals.

One of Toscani's most memorable shock ads


According to Wikipedia, “Advertisers, psychiatrists, and social scientists have long debated the effectiveness of shock advertising. Some scientists argue that shocking ads of course evokes stronger feelings among the consumers. One finding suggests “shocking content in an advertisement significantly increases attention, benefits memory, and positively influences behavior.” The same study also shows that consumers are more likely to remember shocking advertising content over advertising content that is not shocking. Shock advertising could also refer to the usage of emotional appeals such as humor, sex or fear. Humor has for a long time been the most frequently used communication tool within advertising, and according to branch active people it is considered to be the most effective.”

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Ecclestone goes into shock advertising with stunning Hublot play
93 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: MichaelH
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 2:07 pm 

    That’s very very clever

    [Reply]

    Phil Bishop Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    This story is a perfect metaphor for the way Bernie has lived his life. Anyone who wants to know anything about Bernie as a businessman need only read this article. Good on him say I!

    [Reply]

    Steve Dalby Reply:

    I agree, immensely clever… or not…

    Wear a Hublot and get the S!!T kicked out of you…

    …but from a sense of humor perspective awesome.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Iain Heath
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 2:08 pm 

    Good on him, proves he has a sense of humour. Just wish I could afford one of the watches :-)

    [Reply]

    Steve Reply:

    I can do you a good deal on one! Second hand, one careful owner. Just don’t ask where I got it from ;-)

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: James D
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 2:26 pm 

    Fair play to him.

    Maybe they should use that photo in a mugging awareness campaign with his comment he made about muggers in Brazil:

    “They look for victims, they look for anyone who looks like a soft touch and not too bright. People who look a bit soft and simple, they will always have a go at.”

    [Reply]

    frosty Reply:

    i agree.
    using this photo (without the advert) in a mugging awareness campaign would be more appropriate.

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    good point

    [Reply]

    richie675 Reply:

    he also said, in defence of the best f1 calendar track, that muggings happen anywhere, not just brazil, and that he’s been mugged in london a number of times before….

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Marty McSuperfly
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 2:45 pm 

    Did Bernie get paid to do this ad?

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Of course he didn’t.
    …and Belgium, Montreal, Interlagos, Silverstone are also getting a 20% discount on hosting fees due to new found generousity.

    [Reply]

    Phil Bishop Reply:

    of course he did

    [Reply]

    Bec Reply:

    No. It was Mr.E’s idea, and Hublot decided it was so inspired they ran with it.

    Subliminally it seems to be saying:
    “Hublot owners won’t let the buggers get you down”

    [Reply]

    Tim. Reply:

    You bet he did…it is Bernie…he gets paid to say good morning…

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    Bernie get paid for breathing let alone an ad !

    [Reply]

    Bollo Reply:

    Is there no end to what this man will do for money???

    a) does he need it – no
    b) what does it acheive apart from showing him ready and willing to make a buck where ever and when ever? – nothing

    Even when he is touchable he is laughing all the way to the bank.

    For all the technology, glitz and excitment of F1 to be held to ransom time and time again by a supremely greedy Gollum like character eternally drives me nuts!

    [Reply]

    Courant Cramoisi Reply:

    Gollum! Of COURSE!

    Not only is that the most amusing comment, it also is the best, most accurate description of him! He is truly the most loathsome, repugnant, abominable character in racing. He definitely looks like someone you wouldn’t want to have to share a tent with on a camping trip, nor would you want him to be your child’s Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts leader.

    He also always looks as if he should have a tongue that shoots out of his mouth and licks his eyeballs to clean them…in classic “slimy reptile style”. That permanent haughty sneer on his mouth, the Andy Warhol haircut…you just KNOW that this guy snatches grasshoppers from low-hanging branches (make that VERRRRRRY LOW-HANGING branches) with a long sticky tongue…

    For all the times he’s made me angry enough to punch him…well…that picture makes this Christmas season that much more warm, festive and cheery for me. :)

    [Reply]

    Bollo Reply:

    You just made my day. Cleaning his eyeballs with his tongue! Golden and most likely accurate!

    Bernie the Gollum Reply:

    Cursesss the little Hublot thieveses. They stole my precious they did. I’ll takes their free-to-air TV coverages and throws them into the pit of Mount Doom (aka Fox network).

    [Reply]

    Marty McSuperfly Reply:

    Yeah, well I kinda figured. lol.
    Maybe he should donate the fee to ‘Help the Aged’ (a UK based charity).
    Not every pensioner that gets mugged has the opportunuty to use it to flog some watches.

    [Reply]

    Curro Reply:

    I have no way of knowing but most probably he has donated it. He loves to make money, not necessarily keep it all (got too much already..!). And he’s a tough old man, that’s clear. If he’s able to stand that beating at 80 imagine a contract negotiation, maybe he’s also sending a message to race promoters out there… :)

    [Reply]

    Craig Reply:

    Even if he didn’t get paid to do the ad, it’s an “official F1 watch”, which means that Hublot paid FOM for the right to use the F1 name, which means Bernie made money.

    [Reply]

    Ian Reply:

    Maybe Hublot gave him a new watch for free!

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Ralf F
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 2:48 pm 

    Hi James, a suggestion to improve the site: Whenever you post pictures in your blog, can you also post a higher resolution version accessible when you click it? Because now when you click an image, the same image in the same size opens. Here I cannot read the text on the ad, I wish I could without having to google it! Also I wish I could see more details in the fantastic pictures you often post. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    C Reply:

    This is a good suggestion for the improvement of the general good. Take it to heart, James!

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Steve McGill
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 2:57 pm 

    Goodon him. I think it’s a real ‘one up’ on the attackers who may see the advert and realise he’s made even more money than them from their antics…

    Has a figure been disclosed of his fee???!!!

    [Reply]

    Bec Reply:

    Steve, Mr.E was not paid for the advert.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Zero.

    (At least according to a Hublot guy’s quote at http://www.yallaf1.com/2010/12/07/bernie-see-what-people-will-do-for-a-hublot/ )

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Steve L 1973
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 3:25 pm 

    Takes a kickin and keeps on tickin.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Ok, you deserve props for this one.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Sebee
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 3:42 pm 

    All jokes aside, I think it’s repulsive to do this to someone for a watch. We could also discuss if it is at all repulsive to pay that much for one, or to charge that much. I’m all for fine time pieces, but I for one rarely look at my watch since I have an accurate watch my mobile.

    James, I often read about generous acts on this page. Not to get high and mighty but it would be lovely to know how much FOM gives to worthy causes each year. I think it’s the type of subject we can catch up on during off season.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I don’t know about FOM but Bernie gives a lot to charity I’m told. He does quite a bit of fundraising for NSPCC, as well.

    [Reply]

    Steve Reply:

    What anyone gives to charity should remain strictly private! I HATE it when people give to charity as a means to promoting themselves!

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I didn’t say Bernie, I said FOM. [mod]

    It would be nice to know that a rich sport is taking a leadership role in various efforts.

    And as far as this ad goes, it would have also increased in value if some funds from each sale were dedicated to an elderly crime prevention effort. We all know it is a targetted group. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m sure hublot has the margin for it.

    [Reply]

    Søren Kühle Reply:

    That’s a pretty stern view.
    I bet you that the perhaps thousands of people benefitting from charity money really don’t mind that guys like mr E get’s promoted.

    To be able to give to others what you really don’t need yourself. That’s the true power of money, and something every rich person that I know of is doing. because it feels right.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Well said. Bill Gates the perfect example.


  9.   9. Posted By: Alexx
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 3:56 pm 

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Stevie P
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 4:00 pm 

    Don’t tell me… it’s a Black-Eyed E ;-)

    [Reply]

    Stevie P Reply:

    And…

    When he’s re-negotiating the commercial contracts… “I’ve got feeling… that’s this deal’s gonna be a good deal…”

    Ok, I’ll get me coat… :-)

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: kowalsky
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 4:09 pm 

    the rufians might be thinking to get him again. He made some money at their expense. Look out bernie. You wanted to be a millionaire, and live like a regular guy. May be the add is not going to help you achieve that goal.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. No doubt there was CCTV footage

    [Reply]

    Craig Reply:

    I’m a little bit surprised that Bernie didn’t have a bodyguard. He frequently pi$$es people off, and to use his own words, is a bit of a soft touch, if only because of his age (not suggesting he’s ‘simple’). I wonder if he’ll consider employing a big man to follow him around now.

    [Reply]

    monktonnik Reply:

    I have to admit that after the feeling of repulsion that anyone would beat up an 80yr old, particularly since they had already got the goods, I felt that the culprits are probably the stupidest criminals alive.

    Does anyone really believe that they are going to get away with this? If I were them I would hope that there was CCTV and that the Police get to them first!

    [Reply]

    frosty Reply:

    have they been caught?

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: theRoswellite
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 4:32 pm 

    Over the last decade I have often “bashed” Mr. Ecclestone’s positions relevant to his financial interests vs the present and future interests of F1.

    It is certainly sad to see him as an actual victim of such a violent street crime, but not surprising that he has found a way to utilize the event in a commercial way.

    Speedy recovery.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: GP
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 4:49 pm 

    I guess we can see how people like Ron Dennis, Frank Williams and the rest of the team owners could never intimidate him!

    I hope we’re not being duped by make-up to make it look worse than it is…

    [Reply]

    Bollo Reply:

    Make-up can hide a multiude of sins, or create them…

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: TIKO PAVONI
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 4:52 pm 

    Brilliant bit of Ad work…

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Steve W
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 5:23 pm 

    That is a classic Bernie Ecclestone move!!!

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Paul D
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 5:40 pm 

    Bernie is a unique character – nothing surprises me with him!!

    I’d love to read his autobiography on day!

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Nick
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 5:49 pm 

    Great idea. Terrible execution. Look at the simplicity of the benetton ad and then look at this. Could have been much cooler.

    [Reply]

    Marty McSuperfly Reply:

    agree, it almost looks fake, or that they just used the police evidence photo.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Lilla My
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 5:55 pm 

    He definitely knows how to use every single opportunity he has!
    It also shows some sense of humour. Good on him ;-) .

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Michael
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 5:57 pm 

    Only Bernie could make a profit from getting mugged!

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Peter C
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 5:57 pm 

    Journalist Goes Into Shock with Bowl of CocoPops.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: frosty
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 6:02 pm 

    i don’t mean to say anything against Bernie as i am an admirer of his. and the attack was horrible.
    but i have to say, this doesn’t seem very tasteful.

    It’s saying the watch is so great it’s worth assaulting an 80 year old for.

    IF image was published to front an anti-street crime campaign, i’d understand the ‘very very clever’ type comments.

    this is just inappropriate.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    We are in agreement, it could have gone a level higher by doing more than selling you an overpriced watch.

    WOils anyone be surprised if BE has an ownership stake in hublot?

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: azac21
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 6:09 pm 

    I ‘d say, good for Ecclestone but bad for Hablot. People will appreciate his …strength of character (?) but it’s not exactly the slick-shocking Benetton ads of the early 90′s. When you buy a £10K watch you buy your share into a dream world where everything is perfect.

    Next… use the picture of an injured F1 driver?

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Tim Parry
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 6:24 pm 

    Good for Bernie – no fear! A word about shock advertising, or any advertising for that matter – if it’s well thought out and executed, it will work. The Benetton ads you referenced were great for a while, certainly in the award shows of the era. But they were like heroin. Each ad had to out-shock the previous one. After a while, the ads became more important than the product. It provides a good object lesson for those of us in the business.

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Matt
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 7:20 pm 

    What ever floats your boat Bernie and Hublot buyers but James I’m surprised you’re getting so carried away about it.

    This isn’t thought provoking, it’s a poor attempt at shock advertising.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Lalit
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 7:25 pm 

    James,

    Everyday I come to this blog, and am hardly ever dissappointed (if at all)…

    About Bernie’s latest idea for commercial success.. well its just what only he can do isn’t it?

    Maybe you can do an article on what makes Bernie tick, it can be a phenomenal guide for all the newbies wanting to succeed…
    I read one of his interview (might be on your blog), and somebody asked him where they can find a suitable (and able) replacement for him when retires, and he promopty quipped they should search for another used car salesman :)

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    There’s a biography of him coming out soon. Will do something then

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Williams4Ever
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 7:46 pm 

    This man will dig $h*t if there is money in it…Maybe the entire mugging episode was publicity stunt or actual advertising shoot

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Andy Fov
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 7:49 pm 

    Is it really that clever? I’m not sure how inspired it is to point out to would-be purchasers of Hublot watches that they’re potentially inviting a violent assault.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Wintermute
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:09 pm 

    Great ad, but I’ll stick with my Tag Heuer Ayrton Senna Link.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Personally I’m fond of those 70s LED watches. Just got a Commodore model for $80. I’m sure I won’t take a beating for it.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Jo Torrent
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:11 pm 

    Bernie is as handsome before and after the attack, isn’t he ?

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Rich C
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:14 pm 

    hahahahhah… made me lol! right on, Bernie!

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Jo Torrent
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:28 pm 

    Why is the ugly Joe Saward after you James. He’s jalous of your blog bigger audience I guess.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Who cares?

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    Ah, just had to go and have a look to find out what JO was saying……..

    I guess it’s regarding to the CoCo Pops advert??

    James, are you trying to keep up with Bernie in the advertisement business?

    [Reply]

    Ambient Sheep Reply:

    I take it the coffee didn’t go well then… :-(

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: bones
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:29 pm 

    He is amazing,80 yrs old,running a multimillion dollars company,have the spirit to get over a kicking like that.
    James,in case something unexpected happens to him,who is legally the number 2?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Good question, don’t know, but there was a significant signing today with the man who made the 02 centre great, David Campbell quitting AEG to join FOM and Paddy McNally announcing his retirement.

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Nando
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:35 pm 

    Good on him! A nice watch ruined by F1 branding, suppose he’ll sell a few to the brown-noses.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Gavin
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 8:49 pm 

    I expect he at least got a replacement watch.

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: Peter
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 9:17 pm 

    I have to admit I had a wee chuckle when I read that. Very clever and very funny and good on Bernie for doing it. Will anything take that man down? I doubt it.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Matt W
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 9:23 pm 

    Of course not many people of Bernies ages so easily recover from that kind of attack. Fair play to Bernie, but maybe he should also make a donation to victims of crime for those less fortunate.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Dan Sumption
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 10:39 pm 

    I love the tiny photo of the ad – at that size, it looks as though “F1™KING POWER” says something completely different.

    [Reply]

    Bollo Reply:

    Good Pickup.

    [Reply]

    Ian Reply:

    Genius, oh the irony.

    Love it.

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: Axu
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 11:29 pm 

    That particular watch is designed in bad taste; the Hublot brand is generally very loud, also. And it’s incredibly overpriced.

    A bit like Mr E himself, I might say.

    The ad is very crude. I can hear the Hublot marketing guy: “Make the watch bigger. I said bigger!…” Why not make a version twice the size, to be strapped around the neck? :)

    If I’d have that kind of spare change, I would spend it on something with a lot more heritage and thrill-value. Like an E30 M3 Cecotto.

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: Stephen Kellett
        Date: December 7th, 2010 @ 11:32 pm 

    Never seen the point of over-priced watches. Even less so the over-sized Hublot watches.

    Who needs a watch that is good to 50m depth in water? How many of us ever go there? And if we did, would we be worried about the watch or our lives?

    As Mr E, yes very smart. But for the overpriced watches, I’ll pass.

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Oliver N
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 12:28 am 

    For masterminding the castration of a once great sport in the headlong pursuit of a buck or billion, I suspect there is a line of people who would do it for a lot less than a watch.

    Not that I remotely condone that kind of activity of course.

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: Racergil
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:50 am 

    James
    To compare this to the genius of the Benetton campaigns is far short of the mark. What Benetton did was a benchmark in the history of advertising. They really pushed the envelope of visual media. I remember that the first one that I saw on a Time’s Square poster showing a baby duck covered in oil had a massive impact on me. These campaigns brought world wide notoriety to a brand, with immense impact. While I agree that this is clever, I would say that it is more opportunistic than anything else at this stage of the game. As many have suggested, I think his notoriety would have been better used in ways some people have suggested here, to represent the disgrace of attacks on seniors.

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Mark V.
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 10:46 am 

    Headline: “80 year old billionaire gets beat up, has watch stolen. Gets revenge by printing ads of his beaten face. Gets both pity and respect for being a tough guy. Reaps financial rewards.”

    Old men are the victims of violence everyday, usually for a lot less than a piece of overpriced jewelery, but unfortunately few of them are in the position to capitalize on it. Nowhere do I see any mention of this sad fact in Bernie’s ad, only his battered mug placed there to shill some useless product. THAT is shocking.

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: Derek Lorimer
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 11:16 am 

    My admiration for Bernie has gone up a lot. He is a brave man.

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: Frankie
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:07 pm 

    Stunning? having Bernie endorse any product under normal circumstances can only lead to reduce sales in my book. The only logical extension to that is that the reason Bernie got a black eye was down to Hublot, is that really what they want to imply.

    As for Bernie, you can’t fault him even in these moments.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: MJM
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:16 pm 

    James,

    While its obviously very upsetting to see something like that happen to anyone, it’s great that Mr E. has turned the situation around and found something positive he can take from it.

    I think we could all learn from this. Even when something terrible happens, we should think about how to turn it the situation around and move on rather than dwelling on things and letting them get us down.

    In any event, please wish Mr E. a speedy recovery.

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: Tyler
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:26 pm 

    I agree with others here… the old man is full of smart moves… this one is full of character and a pleasant suprise.

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: Ben
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 7:20 pm 

    Agree with you, a truly brilliant advertising play.

    [Reply]


  48.   48. Posted By: Ian
        Date: December 11th, 2010 @ 11:58 pm 

    “Look what the peasants did to my face”.

    Nuff said.

    [Reply]

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