Rodenstock's Gigantic Pair of Eyeglasses Create a Spectacle - Event Marketer

Rodenstock’s Gigantic Pair of Eyeglasses Create a Spectacle

Year: 2008

There’s nothing like a gigantic pair of eyeglasses to help you see the light, especially one that is 15-feet wide, 5-feet high and with earpieces that measure nearly 20-feet long. No, we’re not talking Alice in Wonderland here. We’re talking Rodenstock, a leading German manufacturer of high-end, high-tech eyewear. To reinforce its image as a maker of quality eyewear, Rodenstock in fall 2008 launched the Larger than Life road show, a traveling event that reached 6,000 opticians for two weeks in 11 cities throughout Germany.

What took the tour over the top and inspired the theme of the road show was an idea so simple people were surprised it had never been done before: a larger-than-life pair of eyeglasses that served as a focal point at each stop. An exact replica of Rodenstock’s frame number 5220, only 100 times bigger, served as an auditorium, with attendees sitting within its gigantic side pieces; a dining area; and a stage for speeches and presentations, with its oversized lenses serving as projection screens. Whether the events took place in a factory building, a photo studio or an exhibition hall, the result was the same: the glasses dominated the scene. The effect was immediate. The message was clear. Rodenstock, a leading name in eyewear that had fallen off the radar after new owners acquired the company four years earlier, was back in the game!

Each event began as guests gathered around cocktail tables accommodating up to 10 people for drinks (German brews were on the menu, of course) and finger food. The lenses on both sides of the glasses functioned as screens: the front showing pictures, products and services related to the Rodenstock world; then, as guests moved into the auditorium, the lenses provided a background to the stage and screens for the lecture. After the informational part of the evening, the middle part of the stage was wheeled away and guests proceeded under the nosepiece of the glasses into the reception area for a family-style meal that fostered interaction and communication as food and drinks were passed around.

The gigantic glasses, which were constructed of aluminum, then covered with foam and painted in black, were built in 10 pieces so it could be taken apart, packed up and carted to the next location. They took on such a personality they were given a name, “Rosie.”

The results were pretty rosey, too: 76 percent of attendees said they had not visited a comparable event in the last three years and many of the opticians placed orders that evening. One participant summed it up this way: “These events contribute more to customer loyalty than comprehensive brochures.”

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