Oakley and the Chilean Miners – Publicity Goldmine

This portion of the Chilean Miners rescue has been brought to you by Oakley Radar® sunglasses.

Doing Well By Doing Good

Move over, Lance Armstrong. Oakley has 33 new “celebrity” product endorsers.

Unless you were trapped in a cave somewhere yourself over the last few weeks, you probably heard about the dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days.

The good news is they got out, with a little help from their friends and a few corporate sponsors.

At the very same time Chris Brogan was speaking to Linked OC members at Oakley about how companies are using technology to connect with consumers, the Chilean miners were reconnecting with their families thanks to technology donated by Oakley and others.

Oakley posted an update on its website the following day:

A few weeks ago, Oakley was contacted by Jonathan Franklin, a journalist who works for Addict Village, a boutique media agency in Santiago, Chile. Mr. Franklin was covering the rescue efforts and had recommended Oakley to the Chilean private health insurer, known as ACHS “Association Chilena de Seguridad,” for eyewear protection for the miners once they surfaced.

Based on their requirements and full product specifications, Oakley donated 35 pairs of Oakley Radar® with Black Iridium® lenses in Path™ and Range® lens shapes for the miners who will need the protection of Oakley sunglasses as their eyes return to normal. Minister of Mining Laurence Golborne (who is leading the rescue) has asked to wear one of the extra pairs to show solidarity.

Oakley Radar® sunglasses, the choice of Chilean miners.

Philanthropy or Product Placement?

The glasses retail for $180 each. The value of the publicity? Priceless. Or very nearly so. CNBC reports:

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 broke the exposure down by country. Oakley will get 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.

Saved by Capitalism

Oakley was one of the more visible (pardon the pun) brands donating to the rescue effort, but they weren’t alone.

The drill bit was developed by Center Rock, Inc. and the drill’s rig came from Schramm Inc., both of Pennsylvania. A company called Zephyr Technology made the system that measured the miners’ vital signs.

A Wall Street Journal column entitled “Capitalism Saved the Miners” lists other companies whose technological advances helped make the rescue possible.

Altruism vs. Opportunism

Judging from their company websites, most of the donors are proud of their contributions. And why not?

The Huffington Post had a question for its readers: “Are Oakley’s actions in good taste?”

The poll-response options: (a) Commendable! (b) Kind of Despicable. (c) Probably well-intentioned but also well-thought-out.

Sadly, 9.83% of HuffPo readers thought Oakley’s donation was “Kind of Despicable” and would apparently prefer the miners go blind than have Oakley receive any credit (or publicity) for a good deed, regardless of motives.

Wonder how the 9.83% feels about Steve Jobs giving the miners iPods?

I say, “¡Viva Chile!” And viva capitalism!

What’s your take on the idea that “capitalism saved the miners” and, more specifically, Oakley’s product donation? Altruistic or opportunistic? Or both?

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124 responses to “Oakley and the Chilean Miners – Publicity Goldmine

  1. I think it’s disgusting that Oakley turned this into a PR stunt. It’s a real dirtbag maneuver. I wish they just donated the glasses and STFU.

    People would have asked where on earth they found those glasses after being trapped for that long. That would have been a much more appropriate way to roll their donation out. Now, I thing they only donated it for the PR.

    ~Mike

    P.S. I make most of my money in advertising and PR.

    Good post. Thanks.

    • Mike, I’m in advertising, too. From my perspective, Oakley releasing a simple statement doesn’t make it a full-on PR stunt. The publicity resulted from reporters and others doing exactly what you said they would do: ask where they got the glasses. Oakley just benefitted from the attention.

      • Exactly. I think the media has made a bigger deal out of the situation than it really is. I mean, I know that if I were trapped under ground for 69 days I would appreciate something to help regain my sight, amongst the other things that I’d need.
        Regardless of their intentions, it’s as you say Mitch, they’ve benefited financially from the attention and helped some people who needed it. I also recall hearing monetary donations from Oakley in aid to the rescue effort, but I’m not sure on the figures. We discussed this at length in my Media Studies class and there was some 5-digit amount (if I’m remembering correctly) given from Oakley along with the glasses. So I highly doubt it was a PR stunt; I think they recognized there was a great need in which they were the primary company capable of meeting.
        But whatever one believes, I’m just glad the miners are out safe and sound. To have all 33 come out alive is a miracle, let alone the fact that none of them was hurt.
        Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

      • Amen to that, brother. Jeremy, thanks for the comment and the congrats!

  2. I had no idea there were Oakley sunglasses. If they are good enough for the miners they are good enough for me. I better go and buy some…jk…I do think Oakley did it for advertising…but it was something the miners needed so it’s hard to be upset.

    http://www.runtobefit.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for commenting. Hard to really know someone’s motives. But like you say, it was something the miners needed, so I don’t really mind so much whether they did it for publicity or pure charity. Now I need to go get my own pair of Oakley Radar® shades. (Haha)

    • If what they say is true and they were first contacted by the journalist, they did not do it for the advertising, they did it to help the miners. Are we all so jaded that we cannot accept that a company might do something good just because it needed doing?

  3. I’ve taken cave tours and every one of them has a point where they turn off the lights to show you how black it really is inside the cave. It’s educational, but it also serves the purpose of deterring individuals from exploring that cave “after hours” so to speak and probably saves them millions in lawsuits from inept explorers.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the miners needed that eye protection. You can lose your ability to see when you are in a black space for that length of time simply because that particular sense becomes useless to you. Protecting the miners’ eyes from the sudden shock of sunlight was a good health move. I’m glad that Oakley had the technology to help them. Will that make me more likely to buy a pair of Oakley sunglasses? No. I don’t pay $100 or more for sunglasses. Until they retail through Walmart at the under $15 mark, they’ll have my goodwill for their philanthropy but my money stays in my pocket.

    • Hey thefrenchchick, thanks for adding to the discussion. I’ve taken a few cave tours, too, so I know what you mean. And I can’t pay that much for sunglasses either. But I’m glad they worked for the miners. Made them look like celebs!

  4. Wow. Brilliant product placement, but sad that we’re all so jaded by such tactics.

    I mean, I wish I could even think it possible that Oakley’s leadership did this out of the kindness of their hearts. But I’ve been in too many conference room meetings discussing the specifics of “getting our products into the right hands.”

    And it’s just plain icky. 😦

    • Hi Mikalee, thanks for stopping by. Maybe I’m naive, but I like to think that this case was one of those situations where the main purpose was really just to help. But it’s hard to know unless we’re in that conference room for the discussion.

  5. and the press did not hit a goldmine themselves?

  6. Despite some subliminal ad Oakley (and the miners) sent to us, what i see is they NEED the sunglasses.

    iPod? No. Trip and Vacation? No.
    That’s kinda look like “I want some exposure too” ad.

  7. Strategic! Oakley was likely jumping for joy when the got the phone call from Jonathan Franklin — and good for them. The miners needed sunglasses and Oakley was more than happy to provide, knowing full well the kind of coverage they’d get out of it. Win-win.

  8. Well, until now I didn’t know that the sunglasses were Oakleys. I saw the miners come out, I saw the pictures of them all wearing glasses, and I figured (correctly) that it was to protect their eyes after so many days underground. Frankly I didn’t care who the glasses were from. I assumed they were medically issued, I guess.

    But finding out about it now, I would have to go with C. Well intentioned, but well thought out.

  9. I noticed them in the Chilean miner coverage and a week or so earlier in one of 60 Minutes’ reports from Afghanistan and shrugged it off to product placement.
    Interesting post and congratulations on being Freshley Pressed.

  10. As someone who also works with PR & marketing, yes, it was a well thought out, but I also believe it was well intentioned. I didn’t know they were Oakley, but I did think “Hey, I’m glad those guys have sunglasses. I’d hate for them to be rescued, then be blinded.” Oakley took an opportunity to help people and it helped themselves. Plus, I went past an Oakley store the other day and didn’t see a big “Same sunglasses worn by Chilean miners” posted everywhere. It may have been to their benefit, but I don’t think they’re exploiting it.

    • Hi Dog Tag Wife! I think we’re on the same page. A key point to remember (according to Oakley’s announcement) is that someone from the Chile approached them, not the other way around. Thanks for commenting!

  11. Philanthropy or product placement?, you asked. It’s likely a little of both. Oakley was contacted by a journalist to fill a need. They filled the need, quickly and likely without question. After all, such a small donation for good would obviously result in free feel good advertising. It makes good business sense for the company to make a statement on what they did, what products were donated, and let the readers of said statement draw their own conclusions. And really, is there anything wrong with that? If Oakley didn’t provide the eyewear, someone else would have. Would they have donated them? Perhaps, but the need was filled, and that’s what matters, I suppose. Interesting take on the rescue efforts…these are things that we see, but don’t often challenge.

    • Thanks for visiting! The consensus so far seems to be a little of both. I don’t see anything wrong with doing well by doing good. As the WSJ column points out, if companies are denied profits (or publicity) from what they do, they won’t be able to produce further innovations, which is what made the whole rescue possible. If this had happened 25 years ago, the miners would likely not have survived.

  12. I am in agreement with a lot of what is being said here. If Oakley had sought out this opportunity, sent a sales rep to Chile, put up giant Oakley signs on the surface, etc., then we would all have something to complain about. But they were asked, the miners needed sunglasses and they donated them. They did not do a big PR stunt, they simply put out a statement. Quite tiny in terms of PR tactics.

    Really, at the end of the day, these people that are so turned off by this corporate move, would you have prefered if Oakley had turned down the request? They benefited from the publicity and the miners benefited from the glasses. Win-Win. Sometimes corporations do good things and get a glow of good publicity because of it. Would people prefer that no corporations ever did anything good because there is a chance that there are ulterior motives involved?

  13. Capitalism saved the miners, did it? Given the beating free-market capitalism has taken over the past two years, I can see someone overstating the case for Capitalism. Where was Capitalism for the coalminers in Virginia (?), the Deepwater Rig workers and the subsequent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?
    The case could be made that Capitalism trapped the miners in the first place: cost-cutting that made the cave-in possible, the multiple gross disregard for safety regulations, etc. Perhaps it (Capitalism) had a duty of care to bring these men back up after endangering them.
    As for Oakley, I fail to see what they did wrong here. Kudos to them. And congrats for being Freshly Pressed.

  14. Who cares? 33 miners were rescued and saved after 69 days! If not Oakley, there would have been someone else. The bottom line is that these miners need glasses ASAP as they were coming out of the mines, not days later to look cool. Oakley did not hire the press to come and they do not even have any coverage of the miners on their website (at least it’s not apparent). Sometimes a good deed is just a good deed, and hey if the press wants to get involved so be it. Good Karma.

    • “Sometimes a good deed is just a good deed…” Indeed! Since it’s almost impossible to really know anyone’s motives anyway, actions are what ultimately count. And if you can look cool in the process, all the better. (Probably what prompted all the attention to the sunglasses.)

  15. I’m a firm believer that companies should do good, and if they do well because they did so, kudos. They then have more to work with on the doing good front.

  16. My God, so they got a little PR out of a request to supply sunglasses. It’s not like they set up shop by the mine. They did at good deed and they reaped a little reward for it.

  17. Oakley was asked to use their product to help in an emergency situation. Does anyone really think they were going to say no? Just sayin’

  18. I think everyone that could cashed in on this deal. It’s not sick or greedy to have good placement of produces. If it would have been on a dead body or something, there might be a more valid point to be made her about being “total” greedy, etc. Everyone, including probably all of us that have written on here, deducts gifts, times, etc off our taxes. There are few that give without expecting anything in return. In the end, I agree that a lot of help was given and much needed! I couldn’t afford Oaks even if I wanted to, but hats off to them for stepping up to the request! When you do good things, there are benefits!

  19. I’m in two minds – on the one hand, their rescue may not have been possible without these contributions, and why shouldn’t the companies get something out of it? On the other hand, it seems a little morbid and opportunistic.. Interesting topic whichever way you go.

  20. Pingback: Oakley and the Chilean Miners – Publicity Goldmine (via Love Hate Advertising) « FreeMarketsWork.

  21. GREAT POST!!!!

    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed via the Controversial Issue 😉

  22. You know, that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard they would be wearing Oakleys to readjust to the sunlight – What a great product placement!! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought this.

  23. They should do like the Olympics and let these vendors put a tag on their advertising that says something “Proud sponsor of the Chilean miners!”

  24. Good for Oakley!! They helped and if they get some sales or free advertising good for them! Capitalism is NOT a dirty word! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    evelyngarone.com

  25. who really cares? what is important is that, they are all out: alive and kicking!
    in this world of greed and manipulation, “humanity still exists” so I heard. and so is “give and take”. but if ‘taking’ gets more advantage over ‘giving’, then that is their problem. this world is filled with self-righteousness and over-judgmentalism, “damn if you do and damn if you don’t.” i ask you, why were you not there?

  26. Well if they’d contacted the people on the ground then just sent a box of sunglasses with a note : I’d accept altruism.
    But Minister of Mining Laurence Golborne (who is leading the rescue) has asked to wear one of the extra pairs to show solidarity
    Solidarity? Longer screen time, maybe?
    This is the truth, really, isn’t it?

    • Haha! Longer screen time! Yes, the “solidarity” thing was a bit much. But you think Minister Golborne just wanted to score a nice pair of high-tech shades? I don’t know, I’d give him the benefit of a doubt. And in fairness to Oakley, it was a Chilean reporter who contacted them first. Thanks for commenting!

  27. Hey, good for Oakley, but ugh…

    I “outgrew” Oakley. I bought them when I was younger, single and spending money a bit frivolously. I still get a yearly catalog that promptly gets chucked. It’s a rare frame that looks nice and I find that the cheap ones work well enough, especially when you’ve got little ones.

    I still have my old pair of Oakleys… huge thing, slightly damaged. My wife thinks it looks absolutely dorky and tacky… and it is… and it was… and I wore them.

  28. It seems hard for many people to grasp, especially when businesses “misbehave” (which is not the case here), that most for-profit enterprises – regardless of their often-higher-minded missions – are designed to make MONEY. So, for those who are ever surprised by capitalists trying to capitalize on a situation, please get with the program: Business is SUPPOSED to behave this way.

    That said, I think as both a businessperson and a parent, so I hope that, while Oakley execs were deciding to bring attention to their products via a donation to the Chilean miners, they were also taking the time to discuss “charity”, “sharing” and “compassion” with their kids. Before my news release hit the media, I’d be explaining to my children how helping others is its own reward, so anonymous contributions are great. But I’d go on to say that in business anonymity makes little sense because there should be TWO objectives: Helping others AND helping yourself.

    It would be nice to know that Oakley is benefiting from its well-publicized gesture…and that some of its decision-makers have discussed the humanitarian impulse with their children.

  29. Congrats on being freshly pressed! When I saw the first miner step out of that tube with Oakley sunglasses on I too thought… now that’s smart — product placement and lending a hand where its needed. Will I run out to buy the same sunglasses? Nope. They are still too overpriced for my taste.

  30. I noticed that above that some comments were repulsive to okley.
    want to know whether or not it was a marketing ploy does not matter.
    People are concerned with empressas who made money or not.
    The important thing was to help the miners are they good? YES!
    Thanks to whom? GOD!

    Companies helped? Yes, so what?

    What’s wrong? you criticize the marketing companies to have used or what you imagine has done something to help them ?????
    Do you know what the thing that makes me lindgnado with the human being is to be worrying about what others do or fail to do. TAKE ATTITUDE HELP OTHER PEOPLE INSTEAD OF SHARES ASSUMING criticize or be, the important thing is that the Chilean miners are well and I was really very thrilling when they rescued. Who’s good that everyone in this story came out winning.
    God bless you

  31. Dave, you’re on the money, as usual. Great point that “in business anonymity makes little sense.” Thanks!

  32. Where are the limits? Here there’s a post of mine (in Spanish – Castellano), and begging you for linking, I’d like to check it in: In a few words, a Senate Provincial Chamber Member is trying to “sponsor” a School Maraton to procure funds for the Public local Hospital, in Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m the father in question who sent a letter explaining the opposition to use kids competitions for political campaigns … A real scandal!
    Thanks! Your post is awesome!

    http://auroradelsur.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/senadora-viviana-arcidiacono-deporte-solidaridad-y-propaganda-politica

  33. Joshua Blankenship

    Oh, no! Business indulging itself by helping those in need?! I’d much rather them make money by stealing, swindling, violence, and subterfuge.

    I mean, c’mon, folks. I just don’t get why there’d be complaints. A good thing was done. Okay.

    No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

    If a business saved me from a cave, I’d be willing to advertise them. Heck, throw me on a commercial if you want.

  34. Yes, capitalism DID save the miners. No denying that. Excellent post.

  35. I’m going to vote both! Will Oakley profit? Of course! Did the miners need sunglasses? Absolutely! Sounds win-win to me. Congrats on Freshly Pressed — what a ride! I plan on exploring your blog … great stuff.

    Amy

    • Amy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m all for win-wins, too!

      I’m enjoying the Freshly Pressed ride while it lasts 🙂 I also appreciate your Etiquette From the Trenches perspective and plan on sticking around!
      Cheers!
      Mitch

  36. Well, interesting issue. I think it wasn’t just an ordinary PR-stunt. I didn’t see the name of Oakly anywhere publicly until now in your post. It’s great that they offered the sunglasses and on the site there’s a moderate article about the operation. Thanks to the available technology of this manufacturer the miners could protect their eyes.

  37. To say “capitalism saved the miners” is a little over the top, but there is certainly nothing despicable or underhanded about Oakley donating sunglasses AND letting the world know it.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree, I don’t have a problem with Oakley informing the press about their role. And you can’t blame the WSJ for rooting for capitalism!

  38. Hi! I live in Madrid, Spain. I was born in Chile 44 years ago. Four miners arrived in Madrid yesterday. They received 30.000 USD each one, for about 5 hours, two days, in a Private TV Channel called Antena3 and, of course, travel, hotel and turist visits and lots of presents. This money is the total miners money win for a 2 years period in Chile. The show in TV last night was amazing, friendly and in a quiet atmosphera. They, four miners, were dressing Oakley glasses and Nike sportive shoes during interview. Advertising all over the world, the same great deal! At last… the are alive and happy! Thanks Oakley!

    • Alex, thanks for commenting and sharing your story! What an amazing experience for you to be there, and for these men, to have survived and come out the other side to so much support and rejoicing. ¡Gracias, Señor!

  39. Great post! The need was there, Oakley was recommended and Oakley was willing to donate. What Oakley comes up with for future ads may be what would be more in question. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB

  40. Opportunistic. But they’re safe, aren’t they? I personally think motives are of little importance so long as the action’s consequences are good.

    x

  41. It is interesting that throughout the entire discussion there seems to be no mention of the potential risk that the company was taking. Before the rescue mission actually started, there was absolutely no guarantee that it would go so smoothly. What if the capsule had failed, or if everything had gone altogether wrong? What if those protection glasses were unintentionally tumbled down among all the ecstatic hugging and kissing on the surface? What if any of the miners did have impaired vision after all? A bad scenario was certainly one of the options and we shouldn’t totally disregard it just because it didn’t happen. Because if it had, there would be a stigma on those sunglasses from that point on. Imagine going for a pair that has proved to be no good or which simply brings ‘bad luck’. No? I didn’t think so either.
    Like everybody else involved, that company was also putting its reputation at stake. I have no idea who Oakley and their Radars are (just landed, sorry!) but I am surely glad that there is technology that can save people’s eyesight in such extreme situations. At least they don’t make you pay €15 for sunglasses that actually damage your eyes.

    • A very good point. There were no guarantees that everything would turn out as well as it did, so you’re absolutely right that there was a risk for all involved, including the donors.

      BTW, your “Oakley and their Radars” reference struck me funny because it sounded an awful lot like the “Oakland Raiders”!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  42. I never new that these were Oakley sunglasses before I read Your post. So, You have contributed to the Oakley advertising too, giving them extra media time, that could be calculated into dollars 🙂 I think that the World has gone crazy in this type of comparative calculations. Especially ironic is that the largest amount of exposure was in China, where thousands of miners are killed in coal mines and I doubt that these sunglasses could be afforded. The case is somewhat similar to that when Istanbul-based Ramazan Baydan had to recruit an extra 100 staff to meet orders for 300,000 pairs of the Model 271 brogues. Also, going deeper into the Chilean case, the huge media attention caused by a series of failures – first, the ladder was missing in a ventilation shaft so they could not climb out after the first collapse, and the plans of the mine were so bad so that they were found (as a lottery win) only after drilling try no 8. It was like a real-time fairy tale. Do we blame publishers selling fairy tales? Moreover, has it been calculated, how much extra attention and extra viewers did the media channels get? I stayed awake the whole night here in Estonia until the first man was safely up again. Then, during the next days, the reality came back – the miners trapped in Ecuador and China, many of them killed… I really doubt that Oakley or any other companies selling high quality products have their marketing people following the mining accident news so that they could be first in place.

    • Hello Erik in Estonia! Greetings from Southern California. 🙂 How flattering to think that my humble blog could be calculated into media dollars! But of course I realize I am contributing (in some small way) to the cumulative effect. And with the recent Freshly Pressed attention maybe it’s time for me to start running my own ads!

      Regarding your main comment about how media value can be calculated, I’ve provided the links to the sources if you want to look into it further. (Pretty sure I included links.) I couldn’t tell you what their formulas are or whether they’re fairy tales, but I can tell you that there is an actual value based on what advertisers are willing to pay and what the air time can be sold for. A Super Bowl TV spot can cost $3 million for :30 of time!

      Why did Chile get all the attention and not miners in China, Ecuador, Turkey or elsewhere? I don’t know. Maybe it was the length of time they were trapped. Maybe it was the way the Chilean government reached out to other nations and was receptive to receiving aid. Maybe another reason is that those countries with a more open society also tend to have more free media, both institutional and grass-roots/citizen media, to get the word out and get help. But of course, no one can monitor all the world’s disasters. How we choose whom to help is a very personal decision and worthy of its own blog post.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  43. tsk. capitalists have got every opportunity they’ve gotten. how appalling.

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  45. The ol’ “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Brains are lightenin’ quick – especially marketeer brains (I know, I live with one). So that would be hard to answer, thought-wise. Being unfamiliar with the company (other than its product), I must leave the “altruism vs opportunism” question to people better acquainted with the company’s CEO, other management, staff, culture and vision.

    Oakley DOES provide specialized eyewear for circumstances such as photophobia the miners experienced coming up after 69 days of light deprivation. These were probably not just ordinary sunglasses made in C-hina. Well, they may have been made in C-hina, but they were not ordinary.

    “Altruism or opportunism”? Maybe, the simple explanation is Oakley was the company with the obvious solution to an obvious need. Just like the company that helped drill the hole, or the team that built the rescue capsule. No one is questioning THEIR motives. As Mitch Devine pointed out, “Oakley was approached by a Chilean reporter, who recommended them, not the other way around.”

    33 men, 69 days, 0 fatalities, and none of them thanked Oakley when they came out of that dark earth. They thanked their Lord, their president, and their families. I love it when a Holy plan comes together!

    • Adrienne, thanks for commenting!

      Did you hear the story of the miners’ t-shirts? You’ll appreciate this. The front side said “Gracias Señor” and the back side cited Psalm 95:4, “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the
      heights of the mountains are his also.” The shirts were gifts from Campus Crusade for Christ (Agapé). I don’t think anyone is questioning their motives, either.

  46. Problem with news today??? Make a big scene out of an amazing miracle in which death was almost imminent, or make a big scene when death occurs… You never see any positive news today….

    http://www.knowledge94.wordpress.com

  47. Loved the whole rescue operation. It shows that the human can do amazing things once we set our mind to it.

  48. Smart companies are simply more successful. Think of all the marketing execs for competing sunglass companies saying to themselves “why didn’t we think of that.” They needed real sport-type sunglasses that wouldn’t fall off with quality lenses, and Razors even have the moisture repelling coating that bicyclist need.) A pair of retro Ray Bans just wouldn’t have cut it. Besides, who exactly did Oakley hurt by doing this? (other than their competitors)

  49. I’m sure Oakley are happy with the free publicity, but *someone* had to provide the miners with sunglasses. I didn’t know they were made by Oakley until I read this blog. It’s not going to make me run out and buy a pair of Oakley sunshades. I think they did the right thing, even if their initial intentions were not 100% honourable.

    • Hi Moja, I guess I tend to take it for granted that others are as aware of Oakley as I am, partly because I pass by their office all the time. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  50. I think what Oakley have done is very smart but also very helpful, but i can see why people would disagree with product placement, people just have to accept the fact that large corporations will try sell there products by any means possible even donating there products to good causes (gasp), just think would you rather they didn’t give them the the Chilean miners ?

  51. It’s a great action they did. As to PR, OK so they’ll get some media coverage. But I am not going to buy Oakley sunglasses because Chilean Miners did. I may think a little better about Oakley (but $6000 donation isn’t exactly a lot). Goodwill is part of PR, but it isn’t a huge part of it especially not for a commercial company that contributes $6000. PR requires some influential leaders to tell you they are good. It’s a bit different.
    What’s lame is that they issued a press statement about it. I mean they ONLY gave 33 sunglasses?
    http://hospitalitymarketingonline.wordpress.com/

    • Martin, thanks for commenting. I don’t think the $6000 value was as important as the benefit of having lenses that could reliably protect their vision. As far as I could tell, this was not so much a concerted PR effort as as response to a request (from Chile), then a formal announcement to answer questions (from the press in general). Not exactly a big promotional push, more like a case of good timing.

  52. I think what Oakley did was fantastic and a good PR stunt!! While miners in America get all sorts of benefits like workmans comp etc…I doubt the miners down there will get hardly anything. I think Oakley set a good example for other corporations to chip in and help these guys and their families out.
    I’m know that a pair of shades isn’t compensation for the whole ordeal but it for sure saved their eyes when they came out. There is nothing wrong with what Oakley did!!! Someone had their thinking and caring cap on! I can’t even begin to imagine how bright it must have been seeing the sun after all those days in darkness.

    Hopefully other sponsors will get involved with donations.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don’t think it was as much of a coordinated “stunt” as it was being prepared to get involved when the opportunity presented itself.

      Somebody cue Timbuk3: “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”?

    • You might want to recheck the sunglasses pricing in your link. The HuffPo initially misquoted it as $280-450. According to Oakley they list for $180. So who’s really pulling the shade over your eyes?

  53. I hope the Chilean miners get a bunch of endorsements. Hopefully they all make a lot of dough from their having been trapped under the earth for multiple weeks!

  54. the best things in life are free…but you can give that to the birds and bees.

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  56. intrepidtraveller

    Wow. I never even knew they were Oakley sunglasses. Whether it was inteded as a marketing scheme or not, it worked its magic. Publicity like that is priceless.

    If they are good enough for the Chilean miners, they are DEFFO good enough for me and my next sun holiday!! 🙂

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  58. Hello all,

    The Oakley sunglasses were my idea. I am a journalist who had front row access to the whole rescue operation. During a planning meeting between the Chilean copper company CODELCO and the Chilean Navy construction guys ASMAR who were building the rescue capsule. the question of sunglasses came up. The Chileans had no idea what to do. I offered to contact Oakley and get free glasses. That’s what I did. Oakley is totally passive here, I contacted them because the guys could have damaged their eyes (or at least that seemed possible from a common sense point of view) so I contacted Oakley. One minute later and maybe I would have emailed Vuarnet or Ray Ban.

    The key here is to follow the facts — Oakley is totally passive. Yes, I told them the whole world would be watching this rescue but they did not really get it until about 2 weeks before the rescue when the realized how huge it was.

    I dont think it is fair to criticize Oakley because I set up the whole use of the Oakley radars and I can 100% guarantee they were totally passive in this. It was my idea (and no I did not charge nor collect one dollar in all of this)…..All I was trying to do was be a bridge between a rescue team and some great shades!!!!!

    • Hello Jonathan, thanks so much — not only for stopping by and setting the record straight here, but for stepping up in the first place and taking the initiative to contact Oakley. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Maybe you’ll end up with a book from the experience!

      • thanks mitch,

        it is easy to have knee jerk reactions, but finding out what actually happens is what i do for a living — as a reporter. I too am no fan of every corner of our life facing a sponsor, or marketing opportunity but this as I said before was no plot by oakley, they just got lucky i selected them,

        cheers and nice site!

        jonathan franklin

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  63. Hello Jonathan, thanks so much — not only for stopping by and setting the record straight here, but for stepping up in the first place and taking the initiative to contact Oakley.
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