Why This Luxury Watch Brand Is Calling 17,819 of Its Customers to Personally Apologize

Another PR avenue for Kickstarter darling Filippo Loreti

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Brands born on Kickstarter already know a little bit about gaming the system. And now, one of the most popular recent Kickstarter brands, watch maker Filippo Loreti, has found another unconventional path to PR—in the form of a gigantic personal apology.

Almost 18,000 backers gave Filippo Loreti some 5.7 million euros (about $6.7 million) to bring its luxury watches—at a less-than-luxury price—to life. This was the most-funded watch campaign in the world, the brand says.

However, there were delays in delivering the watches. The initial 17,819 project backers received the product anywhere from two to five months late. So, Filippo Loreti is now trying to make things right—by calling all 17,819 people individually and personally apologizing.

It’s trying to do this in two days, and is livestreaming it all on Facebook:

Filippo Loreti explains further:

The delay happened due to the unpredicted popularity of our record-breaking Kickstarter and the high volume of orders. Some of the modifications we had made to perfect our watches presented us with unexpected production challenges (order personalization platform development, see-through caseback production, Venice day&night wheel/dial modification).

Our highly successful campaign gave us backers all over the world, so we couldn’t visit every single one of them personally (though we would have liked to). However, we still thought that the least we could do was show them live that we are working really hard to make up for our mistakes. Instead of hiding behind anonymous e-mails and a defense line of customer service, Filippo Loreti knows when it’s time to ditch the tech and go for a good old “sorry.”

By being totally transparent, we want to use social media to show that we’ve made a drastic change in our daily routine tasks to focus on our customers.

What’s left unsaid, of course, is that this is—at least in part—a giant publicity stunt. And thus, the brand is not quite being “totally transparent” about its intentions. Still, it is good customer service at the core. And publicizing one’s apology certainly adds another check mark in the “Any press is good press” column.

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.