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Volume 26 No. 51
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Zenni Launches Campaign Featuring Bulls Trio, Bucks' Robin Lopez

Zenni wanted to understand the players’ style including the product, material and look they gravitated toward
Photo: ZENNI

Online eyeglass retailer Zenni recently unveiled a new line of eyewear featuring a quartet of NBAers as brand ambassadors. The company introduced the Off The Court Collection, its first major initiative with the Bulls since becoming the team's jersey patch and eyewear sponsor last year. Zenni Brand Communications Officer Sean Pate said, "We were excited to be able to leverage our Bulls ambassadors in a way that can translate to our audience that is a not an avid sports fan at the moment." He added, "We wanted to leverage their personas, their style and certainly their brand value and bring us forward to the Zenni audience in a way that is not necessarily immediately basketball related." Zenni spent several months understanding the players' style including the product, material and look they gravitated toward. When trying to select the players that best fit the campaign, Zenni wanted players who were visible and up-and-coming. It considered F Lauri Markkanen, but felt Bulls Gs Zach LaVine and Ryan Arcidiacono, F Wendell Carter Jr. and Bucks C Robin Lopez fit best because of their individual styles. Lopez left the Bulls this offseason but will continue as a brand ambassador through the end of the year. Pate said recent social media posts by Lopez have garnered the "most traction" compared to those of the other players.

THE EYES HAVE IT: After securing their deal with the Bulls shortly before the start of last season, Pate said Zenni was "plugging in the brand and logo where we could with existing assets." The assets this year include the NBA All-Star Game, which the Bulls are hosting at United Center. Pate said the game is "a major touchpoint" and the brand is excited by the visibility that comes with it.

GROWING PRESENCE: In addition to its relationship with the Bulls, Zenni is also the official eyewear of the 49ers. Pate said, "We're inclined to work with teams that have a national fanbase and a legacy behind their franchise. That's not to say we wouldn't make exceptions from that, but we are certainly evaluating teams in other leagues to move forward with." Zenni is working with Illinois-based Paragon Marketing on this front. Outside of brands such as Oakley, eyewear is a relatively untapped category, one in which Zenni hopes to establish itself. Pate: "It's somewhat of a new category and not one that's really been very much explored from the sponsorship space. We're definitely the first company in our category to do this kind of relationship. Obviously, Oakley notwithstanding is more of a sportswear company. It establishes our level of credibility in a marketplace that we certainly can talk to a variety of demographics."