Code Melanin: XP Sunglasses Launch
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Holmes Report

Code Melanin: XP Sunglasses Launch

Nichol & Company was presented with the challenge of launching Code Melanin-XP sunglasses while educating the media and consumers on a health issue few had heard of previously, on a modest budget.

Paul Holmes


Nichol & Company was presented with the challenge of launching Code Melanin-XP sunglasses while educating the media and consumers on a health issue few had heard of previously, on a modest budget.  Unlike most other sunglass brands, whose collections are based primarily on style, Code was created with a specific health message in mind – its patented melanin lenses were specially designed to protect against high-energy visible (HEV), in addition to ultra-violet (UV), light.  

What is HEV light?  Most people have never heard of HEV radiation before, but it can be just as, if not more, harmful as UV rays.  HEV light, which is the first color in the light spectrum — a blue-violet light that starts where UV ends — is linked to a number of eye diseases, including macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults for which there is no cure.

To educate consumers on the existence and possible dangers of HEV light and create a buzz about Code, Nichol & Company launched an aggressive print media campaign to cost-effectively saturate target audiences with the appropriate messages.  




  • Establish brand awareness of Code Melanin-XP;
  • Make media/consumers aware of the potential dangers of HEV light and the protective benefits of melanin lenses;
  • Equate Code sunglasses with great, high quality styles and cutting-edge sun protection technology; and
  • Position Code as an answer to the potential dangers of HEV radiation.


Although discussed in the medical and scientific communities for years, the news of HEV light had never before been shared with consumers;

According to research provided by the brand, the main reason consumers purchase sunglasses is style.  Effectiveness of sun protection ranks lower or is a non-issue because most consumers assume that all sunglasses offer reliable protection; and

We had a limited fee budget and virtually no allowance for special projects or events.


Wage an aggressive media relations campaign in an array of target media;

Relate targeted messages to specific audiences; and

Personally introduce editors to the Code collection and educate them on the issue of HEV light.


Adults ages 20 to 55 who are interested in sun protection, anti-aging issues, and stylish, high-quality sunglasses, with a primary focus on women.


To reach consumers at the optimum time, we planned for the bulk of Code’s media coverage to appear in May through September 2000, the warm-weather months when people are most apt to purchase new sunglasses.


We worked closely with Dr. Richard W. Young, a leading authority on sunlight-related eye disease, to research the effects of sunlight, particularly HEV, on the eyes and to learn the attributes of a protective sunglass lens.  We provided Dr. Young’s findings to the media in the form of a white paper, which we played a key role in editing and producing.


Press Kit:

Wrote and produced an in-depth press kit which emphasized the science and technology behind the Code collection; and

Worked closely with Dr. Richard W. Young and the Code brand to produce comprehensive white papers on sunlight-related eye disease and melanin to add credibility to the press kit.

Deskside Briefings:

Arranged and conducted two days of  “deskside briefings” for 13 key editors from such publications as Allure, Latina, Marie Claire, Mirabella, Redbook, Shape, Town & Country and W;     

Meetings were conducted by a Nichol & Company representative, a Code brand representative and James Pritts, renowned sunglass expert and executive board member of the Sunglass Association of America; and

Why deskside briefings?  1) To personally ensure that key editors understood the high level of technological information and controversy surrounding the HEV story; and 2) To conduct trials of the sunglasses, convincing editors of the superb quality and visual experience of the XP lenses, which incorporate a special light filtering system to control the light, improve clarity of vision and make colors pop.

Ongoing Media Outreach:

On an ongoing basis, wrote and disseminated a series of targeted press releases and pitch letters to various media outlets; and

Conducted aggressive media pitching via telephone as well as in-person meetings with editors to spread the Code story.


Final media results for the Code consumer launch show that Nichol & Company successfully established media/consumer awareness about Code Melanin-XP sunglasses.  

The following results prove that the Code Melanin-XP sunglass launch is the best “Branding: Business-to-Consumer (New Product)” program of 2000:

The Code media relations campaign generated more than 67 million media impressions nationwide, the scope of which reaches nearly one out of every four people in the United States.

Coverage included:

  • 26 story placements in national women’s and men’s lifestyle publications, including Playboy, Self, Health, Elle, Shape and Town & Country;
  • UPI and New York Times syndicated stories on HEV light and the protective benefits of Code Melanin-XP lenses; and
  • More than 70 story placements in newspapers across the county, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel.
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