Warby Parker offered experiences to help everyone participate in the extraordinary astronomical event

On Monday, August 21, for the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse unfolded across the entire United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. For brands, the once-in-a-lifetime circumstance was also an opportunity to engage and educate people about a phenomenon that many didn’t know much about, but were excited to experience.

As champions of sharp vision, eyewear brand Warby Parker prepared a multimedia, multi-engagement campaign to help people participate in the eclipse while protecting their vision. Because staring at the sun during a total eclipse can cause temporary to long-term blindness, Warby Parker was uniquely positioned to create a brand experience that wasn’t simply novel, but also educated and informed audiences about its mission to provide greater access to vision care for all.

Warby Parker’s solar activation series was tentpoled by a video remake of Bonnie Tyler’s 80s hit ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart‘ that offered a crash course in the science and spectacle of the solar eclipse—marrying Warby Parker’s penchant for education with a fun and nostalgic brand tone. As Warby Parker co-founder and CEO Neil Blumenthal told PSFK, “We’ve been getting excited about the Total Solar Eclipse all month… The opportunity to educate our customers about a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event while celebrating a song (and decade) [co-founder] Dave and I grew up in seemed impassable.”

Warby Parker also offered a range of eclipse-viewing devices: cardboard projectors for friends and family of the brand, free viewing glasses distributed at stores and a DIY pinhole-viewer downloadable from the Warby Parker website. The three-tiered distribution strategy—influencer activation, store experience and digital compliment—allowed any Warby Parker fan, regardless of location or purchasing power, to engage with the brand around the eclipse. As a result, schools, offices and student groups joined consumers in donning Warby Parker gear for a day—creating a fully mobile, large-scale brand pop-up without straining corporate resources.

Eighth-grade students in California watch the eclipse using Warby Parker’s print-out pinhole projectors.

How did audiences respond? Blumenthal said, “We’re overwhelmed by customers’ excitement for the eclipse itself, [our] video, and especially for the free eclipse-viewing glasses we made and distributed in our stores. For several days, we had lines down the block and around the corner of a bunch of our stores. Call volume skyrocketed 5 times as customers were calling to confirm if we still had eclipse glasses in stock.”

Total eclipse of the (consumer) heart, indeed.

The PSFK staff prepares for the partial solar eclipse in New York City with Warby Parker’s pinhole projectors.

Warby Parker Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, for the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse unfolded across the entire United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. For brands, the once-in-a-lifetime circumstance was also an opportunity to engage and educate people about a phenomenon that many didn’t know much about, but were excited to experience.

As champions of sharp vision, eyewear brand Warby Parker prepared a multimedia, multi-engagement campaign to help people participate in the eclipse while protecting their vision. Because staring at the sun during a total eclipse can cause temporary to long-term blindness, Warby Parker was uniquely positioned to create a brand experience that wasn’t simply novel, but also educated and informed audiences about its mission to provide greater access to vision care for all.