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Maui Jim targets global awareness

The company has recently partnered with VSP and Manchester United

Maui Jim sunglasses
Maui Jim is expanding its global presence through partnerships with Manchester United football club and US vision care insurance provider VSP.

Speaking to OT at Vision Expo East in New York (21–24 March), director of global strategy at Maui Jim, Diego de Castro, said the sunglasses manufacturer is leveraging both companies to increase eye health awareness.

“VSP is the biggest business insurer in the US with around 84 million customers. We found a synergy with them in that we both want to drive traffic to independents,” he shared.

Mr de Castro added that Maui Jim wants to make patients aware that they can have prescription lenses in their sunglasses.

“Our technology is a premium product and we rely on practitioners to tell the story about the brand and why polarised is better than buying sunglasses in a gas station for $5,” he explained.

Promoting eye health is a key message for the brand and Mr de Castro told OT that independents are the best channel for getting that across in a similar way to how the cosmetic industry has improved customer knowledge on wearing sun cream.

Speaking about Maui Jim’s partnership with Manchester United, Mr de Castro said: “We can leverage Manchester United as a platform to talk to 800 million fans they have across the world. In markets like Europe and Asia, people do not know a lot about Maui Jim, so we are using Man Utd to talk about sunglasses, eye health and UV protection.”

In the summer, a co-branded collection of sunglasses will be available. Mr de Castro shared that although the collection is in the preliminary stages of design, it is likely to be a premium quality offering.

When asked how the partnership came about, Mr de Castro said that Maui Jim was looking for a platform that had a global reach, so that they could talk about the brand.

“We also looked at Formula 1, which would have been an easier story with vision and driving but there are other brands there already. Football is a global sport, so that is how we approached it. Manchester United approached us a year ago,” he explained.