ATLANTA: Children’s sunglasses brand Babiators, known for its devoted celebrity following, has brought on Coyne Public Relations as its AOR to help it communicate about the importance of protecting little eyes from the sun.
Babiators issued an RFP in March, and five firms pitched; Coyne was selected earlier this month. Although Babiators retail in more than 50 countries, Coyne’s work will be U.S.-focused.
Babiators brought on Coyne as it approached its fifth anniversary and celebrated the 1 millionth sale of its aviator-style children’s sunglasses, which are priced at $19.99 and up.
Babiators cofounder Molly Fienning said she often gets asked why any parent should shell out $8 or $80 for children’s sunglasses if they are only going to break or be lost.
"Parents want durability, so we created our sunglasses out of rubber instead of plastic," said Fienning. "You can literally twist it and bend it into a pretzel and it returns to its natural shape."
If a pair of Babiators does break or is misplaced within the first year of purchase, the company will send a replacement for free. However, Fienning noted the company has to replace glasses less often than one might think.
"We wish more people would take us up on our offer for a free replacement pair, because we find that the people who do are the strongest brand ambassadors for us," she said. "They go on about how cool a brand this is that they got a replacement pair after their kids lost it."
Coyne will work to elevate awareness and excitement around the Babiators brand and its product suite including signature Babiators Aviator Sunglasses and Aces Aviator and Navigator Shades. The agency will handle traditional media relations, blogger engagement, and initiating creative activations.
Its main focus will be on an educational campaign on the importance of sun safety for children’s eyes.
"One in three parents isn’t protecting their kids’ eyes," said Fienning. "It is not just about wearing Babiators; we want to make sure kids are wearing 100% UV sunglasses, no matter what the brand."
Coyne was selected because the firm understood that message and has created "similar campaigns for strong brands," Fienning said.
To get the brand’s safety message out, Coyne will implement "surprise and delight campaigns," going to beaches and surprising consumers with Babiators, she added. There will also be a large Babiators giveaway on the brand’s website. The PR firm will spread the message on social media and work with social influencers.
"We are excited to explore the world of social media influencers," said Fienning. "It is obvious how powerful that network is becoming."
Coyne will oversee a campaign for Babiators’ fifth birthday, which will take place on May 18. Fienning declined to comment further because she did not want to "ruin the surprise," but said customers should check out the brand’s website to find out more.
Coyne VP Susan Murphy is leading a team of five staffers on the Babiators account. The contract lasts through the end of the year. Budget information was not disclosed.
"The focus of the Babiators campaign is to build a buzz for these great products and position the company as a leader in its category as it celebrates its fifth birthday, while at the same time championing sun safety and the importance of protecting little eyes," added Murphy.
For the past four years, Babiators has been working with Konnect Public Relations, which mainly handled PR and celebrity influencer engagement for the brand. The relationship ended in February.
"[Konnect] did a great job for us and we had great success with them in particular in the celebrity influencer and style and fashion angles," said Fienning. "Now we are more focused on the safety campaign so we were seeking a fresh perspective and believe that Coyne is the perfect partner to achieve that."
Babiators was named one of Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies in America in 2014. Its products retail in more than 3,000 stores and 50 countries, including Nordstrom, Dillards, Von Maur, Dick's Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, and Buy Buy Baby.