Oakley's Marketing Stunt: The Reactions


Oakley Chile

With the two-day rescue of the Chilean miners filling up the front pages, more information has come out about Oakley’s involvement with the whole thing.

As we wrote yesterday, the accessories brand gifted sunglasses to protect the 33 men from sun damage upon emerging from the ground and one can’t help wondering what Oakley’s true intentions were. (Side note: the initial $450 reported price-tag of the sunglasses was actually $180.) The company did say, however, that its protective eyewear had been recommended to ACHS, the private health insurer who examined the miners, post-rescue.

Still, the benefits from the donation were enormous. Darren Rovell at CNBC writes that “In worldwide television impact alone, Oakley garnered $41 million in equivalent advertising time, according to research done for CNBC from Front Row Analytics, a sponsorship evaluation firm.”

Front Row then broke the exposure down by country, and found that Oakley will get the most exposure in China ($11.7 million), versus $6.4 million in the United States, $898,000 in the U.K., and $703,000 in Chile.

Naturally, Oakley would want to spin the situation as an example of a company looking to help out in a dire situation. And Oakley has made charitable donations before — this isn’t a first-time deal for them. But so much exposure for such little money/effort is something akin to marketing genius, particularly for a brand that has been floundering in recent years.

Still, what does the public think of Oakley’s move? According to a Huffington Post poll, over 58% of respondents deemed the donation “well-intentioned, but also well-thought-out,” while 30% praised the company’s move as “commendable.” Only 11.3% called it “kind of despicable.”

One Refinery29 commenter said, “If it was just a matter of protecting the miners’ eyes, anyone could have forked over a donation for $20 shades.” A valid point, certainly. Oakley may or may not be guilty of taking advantage of the situation in Chile, but no one can argue that they didn’t take advantage of a great opportunity when they saw one.


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