When it comes to appointing a suitable 'ambassador' for your watch brand, much consideration will be put into the decision as to which stellar luminary will get to grace your marketing material, and also how they, as human beings are perceived in the public and media domains. For the greater part, these ambassadorial roles mostly fall to the great and the good from the worlds of sport, modelling and the stars of the silver screen. When we glance through the news magazines or weekend supplements we are constantly confronted with images of Cindy Crawford or George Clooney sporting their Omegas, John Travolta and his Breitling, or maybe it's Lewis Hamilton's or Jenson Button's steely stare as they pose with their left arm raised up by their cheek to show off the latest TAG Heuer. And this is to name but a very few high profile brand ambassadors currently employed by most watch brands.
One thing stands out about most of these ambassadors and that is that they are almost exclusively the squeakiest of clean, wholesomer than wholesome, fit, tanned with great skin and above all, they all possess the perceived aura of hard work, dedication to their profession and moral good living - great role models in other words, folks we can all look up to.
And if a celebrity is not as squeaky-clean as their personal 'brand' suggests, then it's unlikely they'll get the call from that Grande Marque, requesting that your visage grace the next big global marketing campaign - although if your star is bright enough it can absorb the occasional knock to one's character without too much harm to the brand/ambassador relationship - Tiger Woods has remained on in his role with TAG Heuer despite his recent descent from grace. But Tiger's a rare case. His star is truly unique. It transcends what almost any other celebrity can bring to a brand and he is so valuable that such transgressions as his mean that although slightly chipped, he still stands on his plinth, somewhat less respected, and clearly no longer the revered master of his profession. He is definitely now seen as human, fallible, and not the unsmiling, clipped and seemingly arrogant golfing autonomon we have become so familiar with over the last fifteen years or so. TAG Heuer clearly still sell a lot of watches through their association with Tiger Woods.
So, if you are a watch manufacturer, you have the luxury of having options as to who you appoint as the face of your brand. But what if some loon goes out and buys one of your watches, wears it regularly, and is one of your more distinctive creations? What if they get up to all sorts of debauched carry-on; drinking, womanising, drug taking and generally raising hell and leaving a trail of chaos and apologetic agents cleaning up the physical (and often legal) mess in their wake? I suppose it depends who it is we're talking about; whether they are loved or loathed, whether they are respected or the butt of the joke.
OK, Keith Richards, when he's not falling out of trees in his seventies, would have to be seen as one who could get away with most things and still be snapped up in an instant were he to offer his services as a brand ambassador to many of the more avant garde brands.
What, though if you're Audemars Piguet, and the loon in question is Mr W.Axl Rose?? What then??? Well, if he doesn't torture and murder anyone or take a child bride, then his madness is well enough documented so that any new guise of his berserk behaviour would not be considered to be too much out of the ordinary for the portly bonkers Guns n' Roses frontman.
You see Axl has been favouring his limited edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 'Volcano' in recent times and I'm sure that would be okay with A-P were it not for his irritating habit of disrespecting his fans, and the manufacturer of his fine timepiece, by turning up for all of his recent shows anywhere between an hour and ninety minutes after showtime was due to commence. That's just unforgivable!! Like I mean, if you're going to wear our watch, at least turn up on time, it's not a good look!
What does this tell us? What can we read into it? Is Axl turning up on time, but his watch is running slow? Are Audemars Piguet watches therefore unreliable? Are Audemars Piguet watches responsible for letting down so many thousands of Guns n' Roses fans across Europe this summer? This would be bad press were it true.
Nope, nothing of the sort I'm pleased to confirm. The answer and sole responsbility lies with the man himself. He obviously cannot tell the time! Or worse, he can, but doesn't give a damn about his fans who have forked out substantially on the tickets which made the Chinese Democracy tour possible.
We get something of a clue about Axl's idea of timekeeping from the putting together of this latest Guns n' Roses (or rather, the Axl Rose and friends band) masterpiece 'Chinese Democracy' - a mere fifteen years in the making, and generally embraced as being.... erm.... not very good considering the time and cost involved. In fact, considering anything, it kind of pancaked!
So when Axl Rose brought his 'Guns n' Roses' show to the UK for two headlining festival appearances at Leeds and Reading, where because of his late arrival, he had the power cut off after only an hour of his show and protested by doing a 'sit in' performing an impromptu 'unplugged' set, barking at the crowd through a megaphone.
Following this headline grabbing buffoonery, the tour then traveled to Dublin where the twonk and his band treated the fans (many of whom had public transport connections to make post show) to a one hour and twenty-five minutes wait before finally waddling out onstage, arms raised in acceptance of the crowd's mass adoration. Unfortunately for poor old Axl, however, this was Ireland, and the Irish do not suffer fools easily.
Unsurprisingly, the band walked on stage to a barrage of booing from the majority of the exasperated audience, and when Axl started to sing, the noise of the baying audience rendered the music almost inaudible. Ever the showman, Axl plodded on, for another two songs before, during the intro for Welcome to The Jungle, a plastic water bottle bounced off the floor close to where Mr Rose was standing. Soon after, he then led his bandmates - who are so far from being Guns n' Roses that I'd be surprised if he knows all their names - off stage and a panicked promoter took to the stage to inform the angry crowd that they were dealing with a technical issue, to hoots of laughter and derision. Once the house lights came on some half an hour later most of the crowd took to the exits in an attempt to catch their transport.
Please note: in the following clip obcenities coming from some members of the audience can clearly be heard. Do not watch the video if you are likely to be offended by such content.
However the Irish promoter obviously told the snouty singer that he wouldn't get out of the country in one piece - or something to that effect, and a very grumpy Rose returned to a now near-empty O2 arena where he banged out the repertoire, barely moving or communicating with the remaining handful of fans for the rest of the night.
All in all, I'd have to say that the palava surrounding Rose and his cohorts does not make for good press - for themselves, and with the all-too-distinctive Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Volcano hidden in among the piles of junk Axl wears on his wrist, I'd be scheming how to get that watch back from him if I were in A-P's marketing dept because that's one Volcano that's close to an eruption 24/7 - although on the face of it, everyone will tune in to watch an erupting volcano, so maybe the old addage applies - there's no such thing as bad press, at least from AP's point of view.
As for Axl and his troubled tour though, I'm not so sure.......