This was a first for the eyewear company that signed Deion Sanders this year.
Everything went worse when a Colorado State football coach chastised Sanders for wearing a cap and sunglasses while speaking to adults on Wednesday.
“They don’t realize they just helped me with business,” Sanders said to his colleagues in Colorado on Friday.
The timing seemed to be prearranged, but it was not. On ESPN Saturday night, Colorado head coach Gary Sanders will face Colorado State. Sanders was getting ready to launch a new eyewear line with Blenders, a local beachwear company, this week.
The partnership demonstrates how “Coach Prime” easily connects his own brand to a product he appreciates and sells by appearing on TV every Saturday to a big audience. Criticism of his eyewear has only increased sales as people Google his name to learn more.
“We have officially broken the internet,” Blenders CEO Chase Fisher said on Friday. “The time was ideal. That eyewear statement and Sander’s collection unveiling were like peanut butter and jelly. The timing was excellent.”
Colorado State coach Jay Norvell voiced irritation with Sanders this week, whose attitude and accomplishments sometimes inspire envy. On his weekly coach’s show in Fort Collins, Colorado, he discussed Sanders and evaluated the Boulder game.
“When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and glasses off,” Norvell said on his show. It was taught to me by my mum.”
Norvell didn’t name Sanders, but everyone knew who he was talking about. During interviews and press conferences, Sanders, 56, usually wears sunglasses or a cap.
The former two-sport star has been wearing sunglasses since April 23, 1989, when he made his national television debut as the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL draft wearing “Python” frames by French designer Emmanuelle Khanh.
“I didn’t wear anything but EKs at that point in time,” Sanders told GQ in January.
His brand preferences have changed throughout the previous 34 years, at least until recently.
Earlier this year, GQ released a shot of him wearing Gucci ($650) and Jacques Marie Mage ($750) spectacles. Before the season, he donned TWO SVGE ($52) sunglasses from Australia and appeared in a KFC ad with his family.
When Colorado opened the season against TCU on Fox, he did something unexpected. Under his white CU hat and his distinctive gold jewelry, he donned sparkling gold sunglasses.
Blenders hoped that viewers would Google the question to learn more.
According to Google Trends, the strategy was successful. According to Google Trends, the following search terms peaked during and after Colorado’s first two games this season:
“Deion Sanders’ sunglasses”
“Coach Prime sunglasses”
Deion Sanders wears what kind of sunglasses?
People were curious. “Blenders,” as planned and paid for, was Google’s response.
“Normally, we do a lot of marketing through paid social (media), but with his presence and the amount of news and eyeballs we’re getting, and the amount of media around him, it’s kind of just like working on its own,” Fisher said in an interview. It’s getting a lot of attention.
To achieve number one, we had to considerably boost our Google search budget. That has been a top focus. Blenders appeared in searches for Coach Prime sunglasses on Google. Those search terms alone are quite popular. As a result, we wanted to be readily discovered.”
They have, especially after Norvell’s words this week.
“I’ve never received more calls, emails, and texts in the last 24-48 hours and two weeks than I have in the last 11 years,” Fisher, who founded the business in 2012, said.
Coach Prime Blenders sunglasses are completely out of stock. They are only available for pre-order ($67) and will be available in gold and black in October, similar to Sanders’ Buffaloes.
Blenders will be CU Athletics’ “preferred eyewear partner,” according to a statement released on Friday.
Sanders celebrated by giving out pairs to his colleagues at a Friday team meeting. Fisher indicated that this was planned before Norvell raised the number of Google queries.
When ESPN’s “First Take” hosts Blenders broadcast from CU’s Boulder campus on Friday, Sanders handed them sunglasses.
“They (the CSU Rams) don’t realize not only are we going to kick their buttocks because it’s personal, but it’s also going to be business and pleasure,” Sanders said on Instagram.
Blenders, I say business. To make a shade line, I use Blenders. So CSU doesn’t realize they assisted me with my business.”
Blenders had to rush 150 of them so Sanders could deliver them to his players on Friday, according to Fisher. It was tough since they are manufactured in another country and are not yet available in the United States.
“The timing was just perfect with yesterday’s news (about Norvell’s comments),” Fisher continued. It was all his idea.
He intended to surprise the players. He’s a marketing machine. He’s fantastic. That is why it is effective. His dedication is perfect.”
Fisher said his father, a Sanders fan, came up with the idea when Sanders was coaching at Jackson State in Mississippi a year and a half ago.
Sanders was dressed in sunglasses, a hat, and jewelry.
“Chase, go check this guy out,” Fisher’s father said.
“I started to see his affinity for style, and not just style, but his obsession with loud sunglasses,” Fisher said. That’s his signature move.”
Blenders manufactures low-cost “loud” sunglasses. Fisher, a mid-30s Southern California surfer from San Diego State University, launched the company in his twenties.
The Italian Safilo Group eyewear producer valued the firm at $90 million after purchasing a 70% stake in late 2019.
Fisher’s headquarters are in Pacific Beach, San Diego. Earlier this year, he approached Sanders’ Los Angeles SMAC Entertainment executives.
“Deion was in the market for a sunglass deal and was very passionate about getting a season deal,” Fisher said.
He received samples from Blenders. With its inaugural presale sales promotion, the marriage took off and had a “truly massive” impact.
“He loves sunglasses just as much as we do,” Fisher said.
Blenders, according to Fisher, would pay Sanders royalties on his “Prime” eyewear brand.
Fisher said on Friday that he plans to attend the Saturday night game in Boulder. He might thank Norvell while he was there.
“He had no idea what was going to happen,” Fisher continued. “The game in Boulder and us dropping the line came at the perfect time.” You came up with the finest script. It was ideal.”