Does marketing get much niftier than this?

This has to be the most successful marketing coup of all time.

As the world witnessed on the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners earlier this month, a moment described as “tremendously inspirational ” by Barack Obama, American glasses maker Oakley also got in on the action. Muscling in on ‘the most feel-good storiy of 2010’, the sunglasses firm kitted each miner out with a pair of their sunglasses.

Having spent over two months underground each miner of course was going to need protectection for his eyes at the surface. Step in Oakley, who donated 35 pairs of their Radar glasses – complete with Black Iridium lenses – especially for the miners. Reportedly with a retail price of $180 per pair – the shades provided them with crucial protection from ultraviolet light. And provided a very valuable branding opportunity for Oakley – these glasses each displayed the famous Oakley “O”, on the side.

Oakley acted quickly, and in doing so secured what could be described as the marketing deal of the decade. One sponsorship evaluation company calculated that Oakley received $41 million in equivalent advertising time when taking into account the live coverage, the recaps and a rough estimate of the audience watching around the world. Broken down by country – Oakley were getting the most exposure in China ($11.7 million), $6.4 million in the United States, $898,000 in the United Kingdom and $703,000 in Chile.

Not only was Oakley’s gesture seen as a noble and positive one (even though the news of its eyewear donation was leaked to the media a few days before the actual rescue), but from a marketing and PR point of view it was also spot-on as this break-down demonstrates:

Story:  The feel-good story of the year.
Timing: When we see a new miner stepping out of the Fenix capsule, the first thing we spot are the sunglasses.
Circumstances: Miners have to wear (any) sunglasses for their own protection.
Audience: Millions of people around the world.
Execution: No ads, just the product and logo.

Oakley themselves apparently said that they were approached by a Chilean journalist who was covering the rescue efforts and had recommended them to the Chilean private health insurer(ACHS).

Either way they managed to get inon one of the most widely-celebrated rescues of our time.

Gemma Carey

– bespoke media and presentation skills training –

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