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Oakley is one of America’s leading iconic companies, formally known worldwide for their exquisite range of athletic eyewear. However, through brand extension, Oakley has forced their way into new market sectors with added lines such as footwear, watches and bags. Their wide ranging product mix carries many competitors in each marketing segment and their excellence in innovation and performance has awarded them with over 600 patents worldwide.2 Nevertheless, the company continues to rapidly thrive with already a 20% increase in European sales and a 13.1% increase in net sales from 2009.3 However, it is thought that the increase in sales for 2010 has not yet hit a high. With the company’s latest altruistic, or indeed as many believe cynical campaign, it is believed that Oakley will have sky scraping global sales within weeks. The Marketing Campaign On 13th October 2010, Millions watched anxiously as the long awaited for rescue of the 33 miners imprisoned in Chile’s San Josie mine finally took place. Captivated Viewers were glued to their screens at home, at work and even on the go as 3 million live video streams of the miraculous rescue were reported on CNN alone.4 The disastrous happening, which held the miners captive for 69 days, has made headlines worldwide over the past 2 months. However, as each of the heroes emerged from the half mile long hellhole, it was fair to say they were a shade braver! The unexpected appearance of the latest hip innovated sunglasses wore by each of the miners was a shock and surprise to all global viewers and one, which definitely had the whole world talking.
News report http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7247255.html accessed Monday 25th October 2 Oakley history http://uk.oakley.com/innovation/history accessed Monday 25th October 3 News report http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/4706.html accessed Monday 25th October 4 CNN world news http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/ accessed Monday 25th October
The Product What the viewers witnessed was the latest Oakley radar sunglasses. These were specifically customised with interchangeable (path and range) lenses, to facilitate variances in facial anatomy, ensuring each miner had the best sun blockage possible.5 Exposure to sunlight could potentially have caused long-term damage and so in order to protect the miner’s sensitive eyes from the UV rays, Oakley entered the mix by donating 35 synonymous pairs of innovated radar sunglasses6- quite a benevolent gesture or is this really the case? The Marketing Element It appears that through this kind-hearted donation the company have achieved what can only be described as a remarkable example of product placement. Chris Fill describes this marketing element as ‘…the inclusion of products or services in film (or media) for deliberate promotional exposure, often, but not always, in return for an agreed financial sum.’7 However, having previously launched the radar style glasses in 2007 mainly targeting sporting audiences, Oakley appears to have already well established their marketing mix. According to Gonzales, one of Oakley’s store managers, ‘…the Radar model is one of the store's best sellers.’8 So is the campaign primarily focused on the actual product or the brand? As Oakley states ‘…the model of sunglasses (radar) supplied to the miners was selected specifically for their special needs.’9 Therefore, it is clear that this particular product placement is not primarily aimed at promoting the actual product but rather to increase brand awareness. According to Karrh (1995), the desired influence of product placement, ‘…is in the form of increased awareness of, attitude towards, intention to purchase and purchase of the placed brand.’10 Therefore, Consumers must be able to identify – recognise or recall –a manufacturer’s brand within the category
News report http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7036026-rescued-chilean-miners-wearing180-oakley-sunglasses accessed Monday 25th October 6 News report http://www.shadestation.co.uk/style-blog/the-chilean-miners-wear-oakley-radarsunglasses/ accessed Tuesday 26th October 7 Chris Fill. (2005) Marketing communications engagement, practice and strategies. 4th.Ed. Ch. 29, pp.799, Pearson Education Limited. 8 News report http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7247255.html accessed Monday 25th October 9 ibid
in sufficient detail to make a purchase.’11 This is the reason why brand awareness is such a significant factor within the advertising element of the communications mix. Audience Unlike any of Oakley’s previous campaigns, where the company have successfully carried out marketing segmentation and effectively targeted smaller more specific sectors, (sport induced audiences) this particular campaign targets a more diverse group. Oakley’s primary target audience appears to be all news watchers worldwide. Millions of global viewers, regardless of age, gender and occupation, witnessed the epic moment the miners surfaced on television or online and were quick to spread the word – hence Oakley’s secondary audience. As aforementioned, the enormity of the campaign has had the whole world talking so many who missed the long awaited for rescue have heard about the campaign through word of mouth. If consumers were not aware of the brand then, they most definitely are now.
Intended Message There is no doubt that this latest campaign has gained Oakley outstanding exposure. But what is the intended message the company have effectively delivered? According to the company profile, Oakley has a ‘legacy of innovative, market-leading optical technology.’12 This is reinforced by the fact they were the only company approached and relied upon by Chilean private health insurers ACHS,13 to provide protective eyewear for the miners. Oakley adds that the miners will have 100% protection and the ‘best possible vision as their eyes return to normal.’14 Therefore, without a doubt the initial message, is that Oakley has the cutting edge technologies and innovations to produce the most protective eyewear possible- they are the best in the market. Through a real epic crisis, Oakley is showing viewers that their product in reality saved the day. This key differentiating strategy makes the message real, and therefore
As cited in Babin and Carder, ‘Viewers’ recognition of brands placed within a film’ (1996) (15) International Journal of Advertising http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH5246&Tab= Accessed Monday 1st November 2010 11 Dibb S, Simkin L, Pride W.M, Ferrell O.C. (2006) Marketing Concepts and Strategies. 5th. Ed. Ch. 17, pp. 521. Houghton Mifflin 12 Company profile http://www.oakley.com/about/profile accessed Tuesday 26th October 13 Company report http://www.oakley.com/community/posts/2534 accessed Tuesday 26th October 14 ibid
more believable to the worldwide audience. In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this message is aimed primarily at the second step; ‘Safety’, as it is believed that Oakley provides the best protective eyewear. However, it may be the hip innovated frames that attract many consumers and so the message also fits within the ‘Ego’ category, residing in two of the five possible steps and therefore influencing a large percentage of the audience.
However, there is indeed a secondary message relating to the company’s reputation. This campaign, along with the supportive role Oakley played while helping Lance Armstrong fight his battle against cancer, before going on to win the Tour de France further emphasises the company’s philanthropy. Through their benevolent donation the company have gained a compassionate reputation, with many consumers now thinking of Oakley as a generous altruistic company. ‘Advertisers will want their product to be perceived in a certain way and in the right environment. However, what they require and what makes realistic programming are often very different.’15 With this in mind, Oakley also appears to have created an unintended message, with some consumers believing that the campaign is a cynical act employed for promotional purposes only. A survey carried out in the Huffington Post asked viewers ‘Are Oakley’s actions in good taste?’ a staggering 10% believed the campaign was ‘kind of despicable.’16- Not the result best hoped for. Delivery Channel Mass media is the primary delivery mechanism for this campaign. The coverage was broadcasted globally on television, radio and online news sites such as CNN. Many
Adrian Coleman, ‘Product Placement: over-hyped?’ (2006) (Issue 471) Admap Magazine < http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp?CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH82239&Tab=A> accessed Monday 1st November 16 News Report http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/13/chile-miners-rescue_n_761259.html accessed Tuesday 26th October
Internet blogs such as Facebook and Twitter were also up-to-date, and the front-page campaign was featured in most newspapers worldwide including the Sunday world, the Guardian and even local papers such as the Belfast telegraph. The miraculous rescue covered every mass media avenue possible, ensuring the campaign received maximum exposure and more importantly viewers were unable to control it. As a direct result of the mass media coverage, the secondary delivery channel is word of mouth. As mentioned previously, those who did not witness the rescue first-hand, most definitely heard about the campaign through friends, family or work colleagues. Achievements hoped for With Lance Armstrong’s ‘Livestrong’ campaign in mind, it appears that Oakley have the miner’s best interests at heart. So what results is the company hoping for through this campaign? The primary result is a massive increase in Brand awareness. It is believed that ‘the more prominent the brand placement, the better the audience's brand memory.’17 Through Oakley’s $6,000 donation the company have been awarded with over $41 million in advertising exposure according to research carried out by CNBC from Front row analytics.18 Therefore there is no doubt that this is an extremely prominent product placement, which has globally made the brand stand. As a result of brand awareness, Oakley also hope to further increase sales through both new and existing customers, not only in this particular product line but also across their product mix. The company’s contribution to the crisis has attached an element of philanthropy to the company name through the recognition of their good intention, and this could potentially build brand equity. This ‘…stems from the confidence that consumers place in one brand relative to its competitors. This confidence translates into consumer loyalty and their willingness to pay a premium price for the brand and/or willingness to continue to purchase.’19 This leads to a sustainable competitive advantage, which could be further enhanced through relationship marketing. However, it appears that Oakley have already well established this key element, With
Eva van Reijmersdal, ‘Brand placement prominence: Good for Money! Bad for attitudes?’ (2009) (49) Journal of Advertising Research http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH89485&Tab=A accessed Wednesday 3rd November
http://www.frontrow-marketing.com/analytics.aspx accessed Wednesday 27th October Susan Hart, (2003) Marketing Changes Ch .15, pp. 297, Thompson
their customer service even ensuring that consumers can replace products and parts from as little as a quarter of the original purchase price.20 Conclusion It appears that this remarkable spare of the moment product placement will be an extreme success in boosting the Oakley brand awareness to both new and existing customers. However, there is much debate over whether product placement is as effective as conventional advertising. It is believed that product placement ‘… may be too far 'under the radar' for most viewers. The advantage of conventional advertising is that viewers instantly recognise when they are being communicated to, whereas product placement is often too subtle.’21 This is definitely not the case with this particular campaign. Through ‘the rise in popularity among television viewers of adskipping technology’22, it is fair to say that no other source of advertising or promotion would have attracted such a wide-ranging audience nor could the message have been portrayed to the consumers in a better way. This marketing campaign is faultless. For such a small input, the reward the company have received is priceless. The company simply produced and donated the glasses and received over $41 million worth of priceless exposure – what more could any company ask for? Although some viewers believe that Oakley may have an ulterior motive, this cynical view is one that cannot be prevented. However, it was a risk Oakley was rightfully willing to take. Although there is no evidence of increased sales as of yet, the whole world is talking about the campaign and therefore, it is fair to say Oakley have definitely stumbled upon a goldmine.
Online store http://uk.oakley.com/category/1032 accessed Thursday 4th November Adrian Coleman, ‘Product Placement: over-hyped?’ (2006) (Issue 471) Admap Magazine < http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp?CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH82239&Tab=A> accessed Monday 1st November 22 Sue Boyce, ‘The future of product placement’ (2006) Warc Exclusive < http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp?CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH82870&Tab=A> accessed Monday 1st November 2010
• • • • • • • • • •
http://uk.oakley.com/innovation/history http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/4706.html http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/ http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7036026-rescued-chilean-miners-wearing-180oakley-sunglasses http://www.shadestation.co.uk/style-blog/the-chilean-miners-wear-oakley-radar-sunglasses/ http://www.oakley.com/about/profile http://www.oakley.com/community/posts/2534 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/13/chile-miners-rescue_n_761259.html http://uk.oakley.com/category/1032 http://www.frontrow-marketing.com/analytics.aspx
• • • • Chris Fill. (2005) Marketing communications engagement, practice and strategies. 4th.Ed, Pearson Education Limited. Dibb S, Simkin L, Pride W.M, Ferrell O.C. (2006) Marketing Concepts and Strategies. 5th. Ed. Houghton Mifflin Susan Hart, (2003) Marketing Changes, Thompson (London). Frank Bradley (2003) Strategic Marketing in the customer driven organization, John Wiley and sons ltd (Sussex)
• Babin and Carder, ‘Viewers’ recognition of brands placed within a film’ (1996) (15) International Journal of Advertising http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH5246&Tab=
Eva van Reijmersdal, ‘Brand placement prominence: Good for Money! Bad for attitudes?’ (2009) (49) Journal of Advertising Research http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH89485&Tab=A
Adrian Coleman, ‘Product Placement: over-hyped?’ (2006) (Issue 471) Admap Magazine < http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH82239&Tab=A> Sue Boyce, ‘The future of product placement’ (2006) Warc Exclusive < http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH82870&Tab=A>
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