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in this issue ASA BUTTERFIELD BY MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK

Special Report: DA MAN Visited Ultra Japan with TAG Heuer & Daniel Mananta

ULTRA RHYTHM. TAG Heuer’s beat resonates with a new generation, as embodied by David Guetta at Ultra Japan

 

Ultra Japan David Guetta TAG Heuer
A timer featuring TAG Heuer and David Guetta counts down to the next performance on the main stage

 

Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer has a legacy stretching back more than 150 years. More importantly, however, the brand also has a penchant for being—to borrow from the brand’s own marketing lingo—“disruptive,” for doing the unexpected. Naturally, its choice of brand ambassadors includes famous individuals who might, at first glance, seem rather offbeat. Case in point: DJ, producer and remixer David Guetta.

Last September, DA MAN got a first-hand look at how the EDM legend delivers TAG Heuer’s brand message at the 2015 Ultra Japan music festival.

 

 

Touchdown in Tokyo

No EDM fan worth his salt will miss an Ultra festival if he can help it, so this year’s Ultra Japan drew in record-breaking crowds. It certainly helped that the three-day event coincided with the “silver week” long weekend and that the weather was perfect—it was well into fall, but temperatures hovered at comfortable 25 degrees. And then there’s the lineup of artists scheduled to perform at the Tokyo Odaiba Utra Park, which included headliners such as Afrojack, Skrillex and, of course, David Guetta.

In our excursion to Tokyo, we were joined by another pair of headliners: VJ, actor and TV host Daniel Mananta from Indonesia and actor, model and Muay Thai enthusiast Matthew Deane Chanthavanij from Thailand. While these two gentlemen aren’t brand ambassadors per se, they have been working with TAG Heuer for some time, as their personalities perfectly match the brand’s DNA. More importantly, they “don’t crack under pressure.”

 

Daniel Mananta TAG Heuer Ultra Japan David Guetta
Daniel Mananta in front of the main stage

 

To learn more about this famous motto and the brand’s choice of ambassadors, we dropped by the TAG Heuer boutique in Shibuya for a chat with Luc Decroix, TAG Heuer’s vice president for global sales. “One of the main reasons [for David Guetta’s appointment as brand ambassador] is to connect to the younger generation,” he began. “You can see it more and more, unfortunately. Younger people in their late teens or early 20s—so many of them do not wear watches or have no interest in watches. So, we wanted this ambassador to try to speak with them again, to get in touch again with the younger generation.”

This was, of course, part of TAG Heuer’s penchant for out-of-the-box thinking and “disruptive” behavior. Furthermore, these two buzzwords belie one of the brand’s main strengths: constant innovation. “Our current CEO, Mr. Jean-Claude Biver, is always saying you have to be first unique and different,” Decroix went on. “In the ’80s for example, all
the marketing for watches was pure technical advertising. So you have a nice picture of the watch and a list of the features. TAG Heuer was the first watch brand to come with lifestyle advertising, with taglines such as ‘Don’t crack
under pressure’ or ‘Success is a mind game.’”

 

 

“We wanted this ambassador to try to speak with them again, to get in touch again with the younger generation”

 

 

When the Music Takes Over

For the uninitiated, an EDM festival at the scale of Ultra Japan can be quite intimidating; so, a bit of that “don’t crack under pressure” attitude certainly helps. The area directly in front of the main stage was a veritable sea of human bodies that had been swirling for hours on end—although that certainly didn’t stop our friend Daniel Mananta from enthusiastically plunging into the thick of it.

When the man of the night finally appeared on stage, the calm before the storm dissipated as tens of thousands of concertgoers roared. A sense of collective euphoria spread across the crowd as they chanted along to “Play Hard,” “Titanium,” and “What i did For love.” At one point, Guetta had all the stage lights turned off as he shouted, “no production!” And for several short moments, it was truly just the DJ, the crowd and the music.

 

Ultra Japan 2015
Fireworks mark the end of Ultra Japan 2015

 

In a way, the entire affair was a perfect analogy for a TAG Heuer watch: A mass of tiny parts, swirling and turning as if at random, but together they put out a single harmonized display. Or perhaps the sense of order underlying the chaos
was an inherent part of Japanese culture that separates ultra Japan from its sister venues all across the globe? Interestingly, the unique habits and tastes of different regions are also at the heart of TAG Heuer’s approach in reaching out to an ever-expanding client base. “That’s what makes our job very interesting,” concludes Decroix. “You don’t have a recipe that you can apply everywhere in the world.”

 

 

With a Bang

Ultra Japan 2015 closed with a literal bang, as fireworks erupted as David Guetta made his closing remarks. But of course, the night was far from over. A short drive away, at the Fuji TV Headquarters, the TAG Heuer exclusive After
Party had just started.

 

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