How Warby Parker Eclipsed the Competition

This Monday, August 21 you either witnessed the solar eclipse not seen in 90 years or saw all your friends post about it on social. I tuned into all the social chatter trying to pay close attention to brands using the eclipse as a marketing opportunity. There were a few companies that tried, but only one really stood out.

Warby Parker is an American sunglass company established in 2010. They were dubbed by GQ Magazine as the “Netflix of eyewear” by initially launching as an online company. They now have several brick and mortar stores throughout the US and a couple of locations in Canada.  They are known for their stylish designs offered at an affordable price. Now back to why they eclipsed their competition…

They launched a multi-media marketing campaign titled, The Great American Solar Eclipse that included the following elements:

  • They released a cheeky, nostalgic and educational video titled “Solar Eclipse of the Heart”. Setting the tone for their campaign.

  •  Starting August 1, every Warby Parker location gave out complimentary eclipse glasses. On their website, they provided downloadable pinhole projectors. And lastly, they provided eclipse viewing boxes.
  • In Nashville, they hosted a free eclipse viewing party where they handed out the eclipse glasses, viewing boxes and featured live music creating a fun and exciting experience for attendees.


All these elements were promoted via social media like Twitter and Instagram. People who were using their glasses, boxes or attended their event shared pictures and messages with thank you captions throughout the day.

The campaign was effective for three main reasons:

  1. It aligned with their mission. Warby Parker’s mission is to make eyewear accessible to everyone. They have a “buy one, give one” model, where the company donates eyeglasses to the nonprofit organization VisionSpring. The eclipse glasses, viewing boxes and pinhole projectors were all free, aligning with their mission of accessibility.
  2. They offered value to their customers. People were interested in seeing the solar eclipse and what better way to provide value to your clients than actually solving their problem. They provided all the viewing tools people needed to enjoy the event. Their video also provided value by offering some interesting scientific facts about the eclipse.
  3. They were relevant and genuine. Warby Parker wasn’t trying to offer something different than its core product line. Had another company attempted the same campaign it would’ve come across as trite. Instead, the campaign flawlessly aligned with their product and came across as a very genuine offering for their clients.

As a marketer, you’re always trying to stay current and create an opportunity to heighten the awareness of your brand. But I would also warn marketers about using these opportunities and coming off too strong or insincere. Customers can smell a phony marketing tactic from a mile away. Make sure it aligns firmly with what you do and that there’s a real purpose to your campaign.

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