I must confess to being one of those people who have, since childhood, harboured an irrational fear of sharks since watching Spielberg’s classic, Jaws, when I was far too young and far too easily influenced.
I have spent numerous family holidays bobbing around in a vast ocean with my imagination convincing me that the gloomy waters disguise a menagerie of hidden entities waiting to strike, and that’s just in Brighton.
Although my rationality has kicked in somewhat as the years have gone by and I now adore sea swimming, I still find myself indulging occasionally in scouring the water for telltale fins. Funnily enough, I’ve yet to spot one.
However, after last week my perceptions shifted somewhat. I was fortunate enough to travel as a guest of Luminox and Derek Salter to Konstanz in Germany where I heard the truly inspiring Scott Cassell talk animatedly in front of a captivated audience of global journalists about his extraordinary efforts to raise awareness of the ongoing devastating impact that human interference is having on the oceans and in particular, sharks.
“The ocean doesn’t have enough warriors,” he told us. “It’s left to fend for itself and I’m trying to help change that.”
When ambassadors work
I’m all for a brand having ambassadors who represent its DNA and help position it on the market but there are times when I furrow my brow at certain tie-ins - this is mostly when a brand puts its name and image in the hands of a z-list celebrity with questionable morals and style.
On the opposite end of the scale there are the brand link ups that were made in heaven and Scott Cassell and Luminox is absolutely one of those. Last year I met with Luminox founder Barry Cohen and learnt about a brand that, as well as harnessing some impressive technology, is for active men who strive to be the best at what they do and, which is a brand with long-term and ongoing relationships with various elements of the military, including the Navy Seals.
With Luminox’s history and position on the market in mind and Cassell’s credentials they are the perfect partnership. Add to that Cassell’s likeable personality and brilliant presentation and story telling skills and both parties are on to a winner.
Anyone talking to Cassell would find it near impossible not to engage with what he is trying to do for the greater good. Cassell’s true passion and adventurous nature combined with his complete lack of fear for his own safety makes it clear why Luminox decided to back him with the launch of the 1525 Deep Dive Special Scott Cassell and the 3954 Colormark Special Scott Cassell time pieces, with a portion of the proceeds from sales going towards supporting Cassell’s organisations Sea Wolves and Underwater Voyager Project (UVP).
Making a splash
It’s a cause that anyone who meets Cassell is likely to want to get behind. After digesting Cassell’s insistence that sharks – including great whites – are to him the equivalent of a family pet dog that he is able to bond with, pet and play with - I found myself, along with my fellow audience members enthralled by Cassell’s presentation about the work he is doing to try and save sharks. (I had no idea that 200,000 sharks are killed per day for their fins. The rest of the shark is callously discarded.)
An enigmatic American, Cassell has a colourful history that makes him sound like he could have come fresh from the pages of a Bourne book. An expert counter-terrorism operative and an undersea explorer, Cassell has been in and out of the military since he was 17 years old in various guises - diver, scientist and researcher - and consistent throughout that career has been his love for the ocean.
In honour of that commitment he now heads up two organisations – Sea Wolves and Underwater Voyager Project (UVP). Sea Wolves identifies and films criminals for prosecution for killing or maiming endangered aquatic species using SpecOps techniques, and UVP is a non-profit organisation that explores the health of the oceans and why they are failing. Both will benefit from the Luminox Scott Cassell watch sales.
Currently, and part of the reason we were in Konstanz, Cassell is on a mission to educate in order to save. “People only protect what they understand and what they love,” he explained.
In the presence of Cassell, who has been on the back of great white sharks (out of choice) learning about the ocean and its plight is interesting, shocking and consistently inspiring, no wonder Luminox wants to put its support behind such an essential cause and partner up with a truly worthy ambassador.