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How Polaroid Eyewear was re-launched in the UK market

How Polaroid Eyewear was re-launched in the UK market

Best practice from Marketing Zone.

A little background

“They do cameras…right?” “Oh yeah. Sunglasses. My dad had those years ago.”
Polaroid sunglasses were all but extinct in the UK when the brand was re-launched in 2007.  Small budget. Big aspirations. The answer. A communications’ campaign to build the brand and rally retail sales.

We developed three guiding principles for our work with retailers and to build all-important brand awareness – educate, demonstrate and incentivise. To reach consumers directly, an optimised ecommerce site supported by a Search Engine Marketing (SEO) campaign was the answer. To round everything off, a PR campaign would take Polaroid sunglasses to busy digital sites and the popular press.

Taking on the challenge

When people go on holiday, sunglasses are definitely on their minds. Airport sales were a natural place to start.

- Educate - In 2007 we kicked off our communications campaign by sharing the secrets of Polaroid’s polarizing technology-and some great style tips - with sales staff at airport retailers. If they passed our quiz, we gave them a pair of Polaroid sunglasses.

- Demonstrate - As part of their training, they were also given lens testers to demonstrate the benefits of polarization to customers. Seeing the difference between unpolarized and polarized lenses goes a long way to explaining the benefits.

- Incentivise - When the sales started rolling in, teams with the best results won prizes on a monthly and seasonal basis.

Our approach is still working today. With back-lit point-of-sale posters and a motivated sales force, Polaroid grew from nothing to a Top 10 brand in nine months at major airport retailers. In 2009 we reached the top three. And in a competitive market, that’s going some.

Building the strategy

But that’s not even half the story. We needed to create a credible brand that people wanted; one that opticians would gladly stock and re-stock. But in a word, you can’t get publicity without distribution, and you can’t get distribution without publicity. So we turned to the web. is a showcase for Polaroid’s great styles and sells sunglasses. That’s a lot – all in one place.

Strength in sales

In 2008, we reached our ecommerce target in nine months. And 2009 looks just as good. 20% of our web visitors recommend the site to others. It turns out people want more than one pair of sunglasses – just like they keep a Gucci handbag alongside their sweet little Prada number or good old Hermès.

We’ve developed a loyalty campaign offering discounts to both the returning customer and a friend. By getting closer to our customers through blogs and forums, we were able to answer their questions and find influencers to review Polaroid sunglasses. Our Facebook following is loyal and growing.


Polaroid has its voice. Editors of glossy magazines, tough boys at Top Gear Online, TV personalities and radio hosts. We gained exposure with all of them. Together with contests, reader offers, viral campaigns and surveys, Polaroid polarized sunglasses have been seen and heard by millions.

In 2007, for every £1 of Polaroid Eyewear’s publicity budget, the team at Marketing Zone delivered £6 of media coverage in return. 2008 figures trebled that number to £20 for every £1 spent.  2009 isn’t over yet, but we’ve had more coverage than ever before.

Search Engine Optimisation continues to boost online sales, and so has pay-per-click advertising. As our sales grow, so does wider brand awareness.

Now, you can buy Polaroid polarized sunglasses in Specsavers and in a growing number of independent opticians. Good news for people who want to wear a brand with a history of innovation and a trusted reputation - as well as some of the best styles on the market.

It just goes to show that the right communication gives a brand new life. And that’s good for any business.

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