A few years ago Silhouette Optical approached both Vision Monday and 20/20 with their idea of a unique marketing campaign, asking if our editorial team would be interested in judging a VERY unique contest. It was called “Silhouette Stories,” a consumer-driven contest, book and marketing campaign that would engage eyewear consumers in a direct communication of how their Silhouette eyewear affected their lives and lifestyles. We were proud to participate and glad we did since the whole program has now earned two distinctive international commendations.

In November, it won the Gold MarCom Creative Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, for its overall campaign and point-of-sale materials. This award was followed a month later with its inclusion in the book, “The Lovemarks Effects: Winning in the Consumer Revolution” by Kevin Roberts. In this sequel to his ground-breaking “Lovemarks,” Roberts highlights selected companies he believes to be in tune with what is developing to be a revolutionary new way of connecting with consumers.

In the book, Roberts writes, “Creating Lovemarks is all about the ability to understand consumers’ dreams, to know what they want… and to create great experiences that make your brand a loved part of their lives. Great Lovemarks come out of great passion, a commitment to creating long term emotional connections with consumers.” Other notable companies included Ben & Jerry’s, Procter & Gamble, Benetton and Aveda.

“Silhouette Stories” is the brain child of Arnold Schmied, former president of Silhouette U.S., now charged with leading Silhouette International’s product design and marketing. Inspired by periodic letters he received from consumers, he developed a campaign soliciting these stories sharing them with their optical retailers. Beginning with a contest, point-of-sale materials and a web site, www.silhouettestories.com, the company soon had over 3,000 consumer stories.

“It is difficult to convey the joy and sense of connection these letters gave to the company and its employees,” says Schmied. As invited participants 20/20 was involved in the contest judging of these stories. A second contest soon led to the publication of the book, “Silhouette Stories: An Intimate Look at Life, in Silhouette,” featuring consumers sharing their loyalty to Silhouette. It was distributed to retailers with a personalized countercard thanking them for their significant part in creating unparalleled consumer satisfaction.
— James J. Spina