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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Maritime Logistics Professional


Posted to THE BUSINESS OF SUPERYACHTS - BRANSOM BEAN (by on October 3, 2009


From a marketing standpoint, the superyacht industry must seem full of ironies and contradictions which make the top marketing jobs at Coke or McDonalds seem like walks in park.

In the first place, the need to own a superyacht, certainly for many owners, is to have something distinctive but, most importantly, something VERY noticeable to the maximum number of people thus confirming the owner’s success and good taste. The latter of course is very subjective and owners of true expedition yachts and proper sailing yachts like the J Class www.jclassyachts.com  MUST be specifically excepted.

Having said that, the same owners will then go to seemingly unbelievable great lengths and associated expense to protect their privacy while aboard, most recently bringing  anti-paparazzi laser technology to bear on the target. 

Now that Roman Abramovich's 560-foot (170 m) ECLIPSE, described as “a great white castle on water,” has been floated out of Germany’s Thyssen Krupp’s Blohm + Voss (Ironically, that yard also apparently has subsequently exited the superyacht building to concentrate on boring grey warships, in the style of Babcock with Devonport) the press has been buzzing with rumours of a mysterious anti-paparazzi shield that monitors the area surrounding the Admiral’s latest yacht.

Money is no object, so ECLIPSE is also supposedly carrying a French anti-missile system and, a mini-submarine for emergencies, although at a submerged speed not much faster than a man (or woman) can walk....
But first backing up a bit, for people in need of them, high visibility possessions that say or better yet shout, “Look how rich I am” (“conspicuous consumption in marketing parlance) come in many forms including things like a Bentley Azure T or a Maybach 57 Zeppelin, a Gulfstream G650 or Boeing BBJ or a stately home

Each of these however has its own problems, which for the goal of impressing gives superyachts a significant edge. 

From the motor car perspective, as was demonstrated again this year at the Monaco Yacht Show, everyone and his brother seems to have a Bentley or a Maybach (and a girlfriend who is a Russian supermodel but doesn’t look as good as Doris Day) - and besides, what can you do to make one say “Look over here, this one’s mine”??  (Actually, it occurs to me that this applies to the supermodel as well...)  
Similarly, there’s only so much you can do to your private jet to easily identify that you might be inside.  And because the authorities won’t let you tinker with the airframe, it all come down to paint and when that paint’s dried, well it certainly gives a helping hand to your friendly neighbourhood terrorist waiting for you at the end of the runway holding a bog-standard rifle, an RPG launcher or, better yet, a Stinger Missile that just happened to “fall off the lorry” in Afghanistan. 

Then to add insult to injury, executive aircraft FBO’s (the Fixed Based Operators that feed and water private jets) are usually on the opposite side of the airport, far from where anyone else is likely to notice.
Then there’s your stately home.
To qualify as a stately home, it’s best if you’re located at the end of long, private, preferably tree-lined drive which sadly precludes almost anyone of lesser social strata, except your gardener of course, from focusing on the bricks and mortar proof of your success and good taste.

Superyachts on the other hand can be of a design as distinctly garish (and un-seaworthy) as you wish
and also moved with the tourists into prime display position – one of the famous Marketing P’s - with a discrete stretch of water naturally between her and the envious public waiting breathlessly for the next time you sweep aboard in your private helicopter – if your zero-speed stabilisers are functioning, of course.

Indeed, marinas are now designed with superyacht berthing (for which there is almost insatiable global demand, by the way) situated so as to be secure but also visible to the maximum number of people. This in turn increases the Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) and hence the value of the underlying real estate on which all the bars and restaurants happen to sit.
Unfortunately those same members of the watching great unwashed have the habit of carrying cameras as, it just so happens, does the world’s paparazzi.

And here technology may have once again come to the aid of all of those shy superyacht owners
So, not content with an alleged French anti-missile system, Admiral Abramovich’s answer to the clear and present threat from the PWC (“people- with- cameras”) is a device that apparently can detect a CCD (“charge-coupled device”) or electronic light sensor which happens to be an integral part of most garden variety electronic cameras and then fires a laser, short for a very un-sexy “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation ” at the offending camera.
Which gives a whole new meaning to, “Honey, would you please pass the Polaroid?”

While the technical feasibility of his alleged anti-missile system has been questioned, presumably not just because it’s French, the anti-paparazzi laser of Admiral Abramovich (Admiral being a moniker arising from his fleet of now four superyachts – there were two others, but he gave them away) seems now to have come to the inevitable attention of lawyers, according to a recent piece in AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER www.amateurphotographer.co.uk . Lawyers from the London-based media entertainment firm Swan Turton www.swanturton.com  apparently told AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER that while the shot from the shore-based camera might indeed be an invasion of privacy, the answwering shot from the laser  might cause “collateral damage",  not only to the camera, but also to the invading photographer – so this is war, then? – which under UK law is a “trespass to goods” which in turn entitles the now possibly blinded invading “photographer to claim compensation without having to prove loss.”
Anyway, the bottom-line is another superyacht “irony”:

Whether there is even a laser aboard ECLIPSE or, more importantly from a marketing perspective, in case heaven forbid no one is really interested, this all certainly has raised the profile of the good Admiral, owner of the good ship ECLIPSE, which is of course is central to the mission statement of any self-respecting superyacht earning her keep.