TAG Heuer: Don’t Crack Under Pressure

This week TAG Heuer steps back in the future with the launch of its new advertising campaign, spearheaded by the familiar tag line “Don’t Crack Under Pressure“, which the company previously used from 1991-1994. Yes, it was that long ago and only ran for 4 years, but that is what good advertising does…tricks the mind to make you believe that you saw it only yesterday.

Don't crack under pressure- Steve McQueen

Don’t Crack Under Pressure

Last year I wrote an article that stepped back through the history of TAG Heuer’s advertising campaigns, which you can read here. Two of the best original “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” ads from that era are shown below.

Schumacher TAG Heuer

Senna TAG HeuerThe original campaign was built around sports, which of course made sense when you recall the line of watches offered at the time- the steel “Six Features” collection. As TAG Heuer once again focus on sports-style watches, the campaign returns and like the original, the spotlight is on TAG Heuer’s sporting ambassadors.

Campaign Overview

Don't crack under pressure- RonaldoThe first four images (including the McQueen image at the top of the page) of the campaign are built around sportsmen and women, with Patrick Dempsey featured thanks to his second life as owner and driver for the Dempsey Racing squad.


DCUP_Sharapova_THF1_WAH1211BA0861_mag_SPThere is one notable face missing: Leonardo DiCaprio, whose contract with TAG Heuer has not been renewed and is no longer an Ambassador. While Cameron Diaz is still linked with TAG Heuer, she is not involved in this first set of ads.

We hear that there are new deals soon to be announced with other sporting teams, so watch this space.

We’ll let the marketing experts make their own assessment of the images, but to my eyes they are certainly better than the old style, which featured the ambassadors holding their watch in a somewhat unusual fashion (below)


Launch Video

The video below has been put together to launch the new campaign, and is worth watching if for no other reason that the footage of the Porsche 917 taken during the Le Mans movie.

What does the new campaign mean for TAG Heuer’s strategy?

We’ve written a few articles about some of the changes that are happening at TAG Heuer at the moment, and the new campaign is a further step in the direction towards focusing on the sporting aspect of the brand. There has been a lot written about the change in strategy, some of it right and some of it wrong. Stay tuned and we’ll bring you the full story shortly on how Stephane Linder and his team are tackling the big strategic questions 12 months into his term as CEO and what this means for the 2015 range.



  • Philmo

    I think ambassadors should be selected from a list of acknowledged sportspeople, clearly accepted as good role models, with a clear thread of good sporting ethos and behaviour.
    The sports involved should preferably use event or action timing.
    Good role models from the world of entertainment, with strong sporting connections could be good too.

    I believe the brand would be significantly weakened by association with sports which tolerate public rip-off, poor behaviour, absence of sportsmanship, foul mouthing, and phlegm hurling activities whilst assisting accumulation of off-shore wealth. [Though no doubt some such associations could temporarily, at least, help promote the bottom line!]

    • calibre11

      You hit the issue with Sports people- the guy who is my hero may not play for your team and so you don’t like him. Very few sportsmen/ women are universally loved- maybe Federer…and probably Tiger Woods before things went wrong. Even Senna and Schumacher have more than their fair share of detractors.

      And its a challenge when you are talking about global sports which have different issues in different countries. I assume that you are talking about Soccer, but from what I have seen the dim view of FIFA is held strongly in few countries (certainly UK and Australia)

      The risk with any ambassador is that if something goes wrong it can sour the relationship. But get it right and its incredibly powerful (Senna and TAG Heuer, Jackie Stewart and Rolex).