Rolling O Lab in VT
On a cold, snowy overcast Easter weekend we had two killer Rolling O events. The first, In Burlington, was located on the Church Street Marketplace. The Marketplace is for walking traffic only and rarely has events, but Ron Redmond, Pat Rideout and crew were more than happy to help Oakley and our gangster account, The Optical Center. Gary King (owner of the store) has owned the store on the marketplace for over 20 years and the city of Burlington was keen to have alternative marketing to improve traffic for his and all stores.
When one thinks of B-Town, institutions of higher education and Burton Snowboards often come to mind. It is a small city isolated in northern Vermont, where culture thrives from college students, business professionals, trendsetters and crunchy hippies.
It was no surprise then that when the Rolling O-Lab parked itself in a pedestrian only zone on Church Street, it attracted attention from all walks of life including those on all fours. Being such a technical looking setup, it instantly became of interest to all passersby. There will always be kids looking for free stuff, but most people stopped to inquire about what it is Oakley is doing with the Rolling O-Lab. This created an easy segue to bring the public into the lab for a short, educational and interactive demonstration on the superiority of Oakley optics. I found this approach to be extremely effective as it was easily illustrated by customers of The Optical Center trading in newly purchased frames for Oakleys.
“By hooking-up with friends in high places we were able to place the Rolling O lab in the middle of Church Street in Burlington; it’s the Main Street, HB of Vermont, only walking traffic with tons of storefronts etc. On a bitter cold Saturday we had over 100 people take the Rolling O Pepsi challenge. Highlights included 4 people walking directly into The Optical Center and trading in their Maui Jim’s for a new set of Oakley’s. From what I heard over 12 sales were made that day, who knows what happens down the road,” stated Aaron Quigley, Oakley Northeast Regional Sales Manager.
The presence of the Rolling O was fantastic! The set up was limited due to space issues but the lab made quite a stir. We also parked the hospitality trailer and Sports Chassis around the corner at the exit of the largest parking garage in town. Ryan and crew had the 60-inch plasma rolling with Oakley propaganda, tunes and brew. We had over 100 people roll through the truck and drink the O-Aid. So much, on several occasions, the customers who purchased Maui Jim from The Optical Center returned them and replaced them with Oakley. Maui Jim does an event every year for the same account but it includes an Easy-up tent and folding chairs! The Optical Center recorded 15 sales and 6 more orders. Since, we had many noise complaints, we were given the opportunity to meet the local law enforcement. We were visited by 5 different officers, 4 of which took the tour and came out believers. The Optical Center has already been approached by the Burlington Police Department about RX frames and eyewear.
The second event was staged at AJ’s Ski and Sports in Stowe, VT on Monday, another snowy, cold day. AJ’s carries high end sporting goods (Hard Goods, Outerwear, Casual Apparel, Bikes and Acc) and the following eyewear, Smith, Ray Ban and Oakley.
We had a chance to prime the town of Stowe prior to the event. The Rolling O was parked in site of the road for Saturday night and Sunday at a local hotel. There were a lot of inquiries about the internals of the truck and what Oakley had to offer. Monday afternoon, we parked the rolling on the parking area in front of the store. The account and staff have been Oakley supporters for some time but this closed the lid on the competition. The owner of AJ’s, Art is a longtime staple in the winter community and is a sought after account. He was approached by the local Native rep and given a pile of samples for the staff. They decided to give them a test, they all failed and the end result was, Native will NOT be sold in the store!
In closing, the City of Burlington was blown away and requested our return as soon as possible. We have been given a free pass for an event in the future. I wish I could explain the magnitude of the prior statement; Burlington is a very conservative town but knows a great thing when they see it. The crew of the Church Street Marketplace was impressed by the presentation, product story and overall professionalism of the Oakley and the staff of Rolling O.
Rolling O is the best marketing tool that we could have produced to tell our story, our way. We want to give huge thanks to the crew of Rolling O, Ryan, Zach, Aaron, Brian, John and Adam. Have safe travels and hope to see you all soon.