Brilliant Brand Association by Design
International sunglasses brand Oakley hit pay-dirt recently when their products were spotted on the dials of each of the 33 Chilean miners as they appeared in front of the world’s media, above ground for the first time in more than three months. Since they resurfaced, the rescued Chilean miners have been wearing specially designed Oakley sunglasses to protect their eyes as they re-acclimate to the sun.
So how is it that these miners end-up wearing $180 Oakleys for the whole world to see?
The story goes that a month ago a Chilean journalist covering the rescue efforts at the mine got in touch with Oakley. The journalist had recommended Oakley to the Chilean private health insurer responsible for providing eyewear protection for the miners once they surfaced. Oakley stepped up – as any brand would – donating 35 pairs of Oakley Radar® with Black Iridium® lenses in Path™ and Range® lens shapes for the miners to wear as their eyes return to normal.
Word has it the Minister of Mining; Laurence Golborne (who lead the rescue) has asked to wear one of the extra pairs to show solidarity.
Team Oakley – the 33 rescued miners sport the latest in hospital wear, slippers and shades.
Chilean police guard the home of one of the rescued miners, and make a play for their own sunnies sponsorship.
So, is this an example of another global brand hijacking a wonderful piece of human history for their own benefit, or a responsible global brand citizen responding to the call of these miners in need? The answer lies somewhere in between. Whilst I’m sure the motives of Oakley were not 100% saintly, do we really expect that of our brands? In the end, the miners were rescued and Chile and the world celebrated a great story of human triumph. Sure Oakley got some prime product placement, but to their credit they made no attempt to steal the show.
Nice one all round.
Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
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Brand designer in need of a new pair of (perhaps Oakley) sunnies