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Oakley’s Disrupting: Is It Too Much?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Any time a brand does something a little too different or a little too headstrong, people start to talk. They take a stand about how the brand went a little too far and make some noise. But hey, noise is good. Oakley is a long-standing brand, one originally known for sunglasses. Well, this brand is stepping out, picking an audience, and being very specific in its new campaign. Specific is good, making a statement is good, but apparently those who oppose think it’s a bit too much. Is it too much to showcase how the brand wants its products to be used? Is it too much to make sure the product identifies with a certain target audience? Apparently so, but hey, it’s got everyone talking about Oakley.

The brand is most famous for its sunglasses — a solid brand that through the years has had a core product to promote. Oakley was used to talking to the general sunglasses wearer (aka everyone) until it decided to create something a bit more specific and market it as so. The brand’s latest campaign is to promote its eyewear and apparel to a specific set of females — those that do, not those that watch. It’s aggressive, it plays to those that work hard and work out even harder, and it undermines those wearing yoga pants to lunch. So yes, the campaign is direct, but it has a purpose. Oakley is creating a very specific place for itself in the female market. One that lets its audience know that the products are made for blood, sweat, and tears. Not for mimosas on a Sunday morning.

Part of branding success is making sure a company is targeting a specific set of individuals. And that’s exactly what the Oakley brand is doing. Many, however, feel that the brand is doing this by also alienating a large portion of the female population. Maybe yes, maybe no. But Oakley is defining its brand and its products away from the competition. It’s not making the same statement as Lululemon or Lucy or Nike. It’s not saying everyone can be an athlete and everyone can wear its products. Oakley is going after the serious female that works out hard. This is not a step back for feminism, it’s just a brand being specific and disrupting the status quo. And that is a brand win.

Sure, Oakley’s products can be we worn on a leisurely walk around the park. And of course the brand is letting any and all women purchase. But Oakley is talking to the determined female; the one that has marathons under her belt, finds trail biking exciting, and is always looking for the next athletic challenge. The brand isn’t focused on alienating a certain females, but instead hopes to promote its products to those females that need something to stand up to sun, sweat, and a whole lot of hours.


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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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