"Consumers now go into stores asking for the lighting system, Indiglo, instead of the watch brand," says Michael Jacobi, Timex Corp. president-CEO.
The company has built a branded feature so strong, it doesn't need the powerful Timex name. Timex's total watch sales have risen almost 50%, to more than $500 million, since Indiglo was introduced in fall 1992.
Indiglo's dial-illuminating feature lights up the entire watch face with the press of a button.
The Indiglo light, credited with illuminating the way for victims of the Los Angeles earthquake and the World Trade Center bombing, is a marketer's dream come true for Mr. Jacobi.
Under his watchful eye, the leader in watches under $50 spent an estimated $10 million advertising the new lighting feature with a creatively executed print and TV effort from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis.
The strategy: to let consumers know a completely illuminated watch should be considered a fundamental feature. Mr. Jacobi, 52, likens it to how the company built consumer demand for water-resistant watches.
"Now we have to catch up with the demand" for Indiglo, Mr. Jacobi says.
He says the biggest challenge marketing the Indiglo lighting feature is that it can't be seen at the point of sale.
But Mr. Jacobi adds that buyers and retailers say consumers don't ask for a demonstration because the advertising so adequately displays the feature.
"It'd be like asking for a demonstration of a flashlight."