Recently a good chunk of the world watched in nervous anticipation as the Chilean miners were rescued. After 69 days of captivity stuck in a tunnel a half-mile below the surface nobody really knew what to expect. As my family was glued to the TV watching the capsule rise out of the ground with the first miner, we expected him to be weak, emaciated and generally in poor shape. But much to our surprise each miner looked pretty good, had a smile on their face and wore a pair of really cool sunglasses.
But it was nighttime so why the sun glasses? Since the miners were underground for so long they needed the protection for their eyes to properly adjust to the light. As luck would have it, a Chilean journalist had contacted Oakley, explained the situation, and the company promptly donated 35 pairs of glasses with special UV ray protection. I assume that Oakley donated the glasses out of the goodness of their hearts, but what an impact it may have on their wallets.
Oakley reaped a staggering $41 million worth of media exposure for this altruistic gesture. Front Row Analytics broke down this number and even gave estimates for the financial impact in each county that ran the footage. It’s really unbelievable when you think about it.
We’ve talked a lot about brand and building brand equity in this blog over the past year. Assuming that Oakley donated the glasses and didn’t view this simply as a product placement, then they deserve all the free publicity they get. Brand is not simply about having your product on display. As define in Wikipedia, “The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity – it affects the personality of a product, company or service.” In this case Oakley is reaping the benefits of securing worldwide exposure. But in building their brand through this act of kindness, Oakley gets positioned as a company that helps people who are in trouble, and I bet you that people who wear Oakley sunglasses will reference the fact that these are the same glasses that the miners wore when they had their first taste of freedom in over two months.
Author: Rob Goodman
Rob Goodman is a communications professional with more than 27 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content creation.