The 'eyes' have it for Zenni Optical's first Super Bowl spot

San Francisco 49ers' Tight End George Kittle stars in Zenni's first, regional Super Bowl ad
San Francisco 49ers' Tight End George Kittle stars in Zenni's first, regional Super Bowl ad

The online eyewear retailer only running its San Francisco 49ers-themed commercial in visionary places.

In what must be the most unusual media buy of Super Bowl LIV, Zenni, an online eyewear retailer, is airing spots only in Fox affiliate markets that have some tie-in to eyesight. 

Zenni’s first Super Bowl commercial, featuring George Kittle, a tight end on the San Francisco 49ers, will appear in GlenVIEW, Ill., Mountain VIEW, Calif., ChEYEnne, Wyo., TallahasSEE, Fla, Jackson and Memphis TennesSEE and so forth.

"We wanted to get as creative as we could while finding the appropriate level of investment but with some level of scale," explained Sean Pate, Zenni’s brand communication officer. "We thought the vision centric markets made for a nice pun, while we primarily focus on the Bay Area and Chicago markets."

Pate estimated a media buy of less than $1 million.

Zenni, based in Novato, Calif., is the official eyewear of the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bulls. 

"While the 49ers are our hometown football team, we don’t have any corporate connections to Chicago, however, both franchises are legacies of their sports and carry many millions of devoted fans not only in market, but across the country and internationally," said Pate. "As an e-commerce business with no retail in either location, the partnership with both teams gives us significance across the country."

The 30-second Kittle spot, created in conjunction with Beasley Media Group, Naples, Fla., and Scheme Engine, Los Angeles, features the stylish player in a range of Zenni eyewear. The spot shows him on the field, walking into the stadium and reviewing plays on an iPadSuper Bowl spot. 

In a voiceover monologue, Kittle says: "Vision is critical to an athlete’s performance and protecting it is just as important as correcting it." 

Zenni Optical, founded in 2003, is a pioneer in the online prescription eyewear niche, disrupting the category with eyewear averaging $40 a pair. Rashida Jones is another endorser who will appear in outdoor and print ads for Zenni through 2020.

"You’ll see additional sports marketing investments and likely more celebrity engagement and other collaborations," said Pate. "We are in a major brand building and education mode right now." 

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