In an unprecedented marketing campaign estimated to have cost $38 million, Apple has strategically chosen former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns to launch the Apple Watch and took out a 12 page ad in Vogue’s March 2015 issue. Instead of resting on its technical innovation, the Apple Watch marketing strategy is going after a new, fashion conscious, demographic.
Simply going to order the watch reveals how much style influences the new gadget. There’s never been an Apple product with over 38 variations to choose from at launch. 18-karat gold cases, bracelet-like stainless steel bands and custom clock faces are just some of the style options for the Apple Watch. Add to that the celebrity endorsements beyond spokesmodel Burns — Beyoncé and Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld each received a solid-gold version of the watch before the launch — and you have a clear trend-setting attempt by Apple.
If all that’s not enough to appeal to the style conscious, there’s any of the hundreds of apps targeting this demographic, letting you shop, get fashion updates and take selfies from your wrist.
But is all this enough to win over the fashionable set?
In an interview, cover model and fashion magazine founder Hilary Rowland, the editor-in-chief of Urbanette magazine, explains that while the Apple marketing campaign has sparked a conversation, the concept is nothing new.
“The Apple marketing machine is doing a good job at convincing people that they invented this design and concept, but strikingly similar Android watches have been on the market for ages, are far less expensive, and boast more features.”
As for the design itself, Los Angeles based film actress Polly Shannon says that the Apple Watch has missed the mark – even for devoted Apple users:
“I do love Apple products. My phones and computers are all Apple. (But the Apple Watch), I don’t find attractive at all. Some of my male friends have purchased it and it looks fine on them. For me, I think I’ll stick to my Rolex for now.”
The final fashion verdict might just be the one from fashion bloggers, who are on the ground defining the next big trend. Reaching out to the top 14 fashion bloggers – as defined by Harper’s Bazaar – and other industry leaders, their reaction to the Apple Watch is mixed:
“I am still ‘fashion over function’ when it comes to watches; I don’t think the Apple Watch matches my personal style, and don’t believe the look would translate well from day to night,” says Lena Almeida, who heads the shopping blog, Listen to Lena.
“The Apple watch is revolutionary. The design is very chic, sleek and minimal!”