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Maui Jim puts Hawaii at Heart of Global Refresh

January 30, 2024

U.S. sunglasses brand Maui Jim is putting the Aloha State in the spotlight.

The label’s latest campaign, called “Color You Can Feel,” stars American actor and newly-named ambassador Evan Mock. In the midst of lush landscapes and tropical city streets, the advertisements show the Native Hawaiian and other personalities donning the Ekahi collection, the first to be designed and produced with parent company Kering Eyewear.

“I think it’s interesting that Maui Jim has placed as much focus on the viewing experience connected the ‘Color You Can Feel’ campaign as they have the new frame designs,” said Daymon Bruck, chief creative officer at The O Group, New York.

“Luxury experiences (more so than products) have risen to become the number one industry category in terms of value, especially with the younger Gen Z and Millennial audience,” Mr. Bruck said. “It’s a smart strategy by Maui Jim to connect their new campaign with the audience’s viewing — elevating their products to include this experiential enhancement and lifestyle benefits.”

“As Hawaii is the brand’s place of origin and a central part its DNA, it makes sense to organically align with an ambassador like Evan Mock to help reinforce their story and authenticity.”

Mr. Bruck is not affiliated with Maui Jim, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Ekahi for All
Maui Jim is ushering in a brand refresh.

Reworking its image to expand its international reach, the manufacturer is looking to appeal to a younger audience. Digital channels are playing a major part in its efforts to captivate the demographic.

Deleting all prior posts from its Instagram page, Maui Jim’s social media account currently features content from “Color You Can Feel” exclusively.

Models don the new collection will traversing the many settings of Hawaii. Image credit: Maui Jim

Models don the new collection while traversing the many settings of Hawaii. Image credit: Maui Jim

The question “Can you feel the color?” is stated in its bio, and besides the lifestyle shots that support its frames, Maui Jim spotlights “an immersive journey through color, beauty and emotion,” arriving in the form of a campaign video.

Sardinian director Neels Castillon spearheaded the film, while British photographer Nick Riley Bentham is responsible for the imagery.

Starring Mr. Mock and a range of other diverse cast members, the talents involved with “Color You Can Feel” represent the brand’s commitment to inclusivity, a value deeply held by Gen Z customers.

The skater, surfer and actor reveals a love for his home state in the campaign. Image credit: Maui Jim

The skater, surfer and actor reveals a love for his home state in the campaign. Image credit: Maui Jim

Known for his role in HBO’s “Gossip Girl” television series, the actor is, according to the campaign, “the ultimate personification of Maui Jim’s contemporary coolness and empowered imagination.” As a surfer, skater and artist, Mr. Mock not only represents the culture of his home state but could resonate with those who share his many interests and background.

“Being a part of Maui Jim’s campaign is an honor,” said Mr. Mock, in a statement.

“Being Hawaiian, Maui Jim has been such a big part of my life,” he said. “It was just around, my grandfather had them, my father had them, that’s why the project became interesting to me.”

In the video, he and the rest of the collective are shown wearing picks around different parts of the island — the collection’s name, Ekahi, means “one” in English.

From green hills to gushing waterfalls to the sunlit streets of beachside cities, portraits showcase the beauty of the state, the paradisiacal setting further contextualizing the release.

The sunglasses' various colors are on display amidst scenery that reflects their diversity. Image credit: Maui Jim

The sunglasses’ various colors are on display amid scenery that reflects their diversity. Image credit: Maui Jim

The collection includes prescription lenses and proprietary Polarized Plus technology that allows for glare-free views and 100 percent UV protection (see story). As the name of the campaign suggests, vibrant colors are a staple.

The plethora of biomes and scenery appearing in the advertising video embodies this versatility, as the sunglasses are tailored for every occasion. Maui Jim also asserts that they help wearers see the rich sights around them and detect the kaleidoscopic hues of the world better.

This will be celebrated at the Ekahi collection launch event by Kering Eyewear, which acquired the house in 2022 (see story). The formal unveiling will be hosted at the MIDO glasses exhibition in Milan, where Mr. Mock will make a special appearance, on Feb. 1, 2024.

The sea-to-city nature of Hawaii sets the tone for Maui Jim's versatile glasses. Image credit: Maui Jim

The sea-to-city nature of Hawaii sets the tone for Maui Jim’s versatile glasses. Image credit: Maui Jim

“Embracing the essence of Ohana, we are embarking on a transformative journey, fueled by passion and unwavering commitment, to elevate Maui Jim to new heights,” said Roberto Vedovotto, president and CEO of Kering Eyewear, in a statement.

“With our ‘Color You Can Feel’ campaign, we are not just redefining eyewear, we are reshaping experiences,” Mr. Vedovotto said. “Together with Evan, who embodies the essence of Maui Jim’s contemporary DNA, we are not just selling sunglasses: we are inviting everyone to see the world through a lens of vibrancy, clarity and emotion.”

Relief for Maui
With his ambassador appointment, Mr. Mock will now support the company’s philanthropic endeavors, including engagement with the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund.

Following Kering Eyewear’s initial donation made when the fires hit the island last summer (see story), Maui Jim continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Lahaina, the birthplace of the brand and site affected by the crisis.

The label has committed to donating 10 percent of all proceeds from the sales of styles worn by Mr. Mock to the Maui Strong Fund in 2024.

Earnings from the Laulima, Kenui, Kahiko and Kupale glasses will benefit recovery efforts for locals. Purchases made online and through authorized retailers are both eligible.

“Since there has been a number of very visible missteps around providing aid to Lahaina after the horrific fire last year, it’s nice to see Maui Jim making a safe and thoughtful way to provide support through the Evan Mock partnership,” said Mr. Bruck.

“Luxury brands must always look for ways to reinforce and support their values and by providing aid to their brand’s home state, Maui Jim is doing just that through the Maui Strong Fund.”

Original article published in Luxury Daily, January 30, 2024

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