Bazooka: Scott Bowers
March 24th, 2017 - 4 years ago (30 logins)Last Login1 years ago
I've been a fan of Oakley for 3 decades and know a thing or two about its history. I've also been a lurker of O-Review for many years and greatly respect and appreciate the knowledge, loyalty and passion that all members show and share. Keep Oakley alive.

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Oct 14, 2017 4:49 AM
Torch was recently founded by Louis Wellen. Longtime Oakley Sports Marketing employee.
May 5, 2017 12:11 AM
Thanks Eddy!

For the record. While Square O did have its place and was disruptive, I'm an "Ellipse" guy as well. We would say it has "timeless elegance". Not many brand icons can endure the test of the time. The Ellipse O will always be iconic. Scott
May 4, 2017 11:39 PM
That's too bad. The Square O is big, bold and tough. It's an in-your-face logo that could and should be further expressed. Scott
May 4, 2017 8:43 PM
We have a winner. Nice pull Eddy as it was a pretty tight group involved in the decision making and a long time ago.

When we placed the Ellipse on the Gascan JJ felt it just wasn't right with the new angular design direction. So he simply squared up the Ellipse and the Square O was born. At the time it had nothing to do with lifestyle delineation.

From a marketing point of view it was a crazy maker. Usually you don't mess with a brand mark and when it came to advertising we were scratching our heads as to what logo to use. That's when we ended up building the tory around Ellipse stood for performance and the Square O was lifestyle. Surprising we stuck to that as we all anticipated that JJ and the design team would soon come up with with an angular sports performance style that would have demanded a Square O.

As well, some asked that the Square O only be used on styles targeted at a specific audience (action sports and new, young consumers). This could have potentially included snowboard goggles, FMX goggles. That's when it would have gotten really messy so the Square O remained on lifestyle sunglasses and optical frames. It was also the primary logo we used with the more lifestyle oriented sports such as surf, skate and snow. Still kind of messy, but we made it work.

I'm not sure what the logo philosophy is today. I'm seeing the Ellipse on more and more styles I consider lifestyle (Drop Point, Double Edge, Sliver, etc.). It would not surprise me in the least that the brain trusts at Lux think two logos make it too complicated and mandates Ellipse on everything in the future. Scott

May 4, 2017 1:02 PM
Trivia for Thursday.

Why and when was the Square O logo created?
Apr 27, 2017 11:10 PM

Apr 27, 2017 10:55 PM
Winner, winner chicken dinner goes to the-o-man!

Back in the early 80's you always skied on sunny days (snow days as well) with sunglasses. Vuarnet, Ray Ban Carrera, Suncloud were some of the brands of dominance. Lenses were glass and they fell off your head easily. Nonetheless, unless you were serious about performance that is what you wore. Oakley had entered the snow goggle biz roughly around 1983. The goggle was an O Frame with a dual lens and venting. It was realized that skiers didn't like goggle, but they liked sunglasses so why not cross over.

Hence the Eyeshade was born.
1. Looked like an O Frame goggle
2. Brow foam (like a goggle) to reduce airflow, but enough to keep the lens from fogging.
3. Interchangeable "hook" ear stems to better keep them on your head.
4. And first of its kind a single "Plutonite" lens in a cylindrical geometry.
5. Like a goggle, interchangeable lenses.

Genius! (Part of the inspiration came form JJ's experience with inadvertent light coming in the sides of flat curve sunglasses.) It was accepted with small excitement and mostly distributed through the snow goggle distribution of ski shops.

Along comes this up and coming American cyclist, who was previous a skier and living in Reno, Nevada. He goes into a ski shop and discovers the Eyeshade. Greg Lemond had sensitive eyes and was always thinking of eye protection while he rode. He buys a pair to try while he rides. He likes them. He then later calls JJ, introduces himself and asks Jim if he can get lighter lens tints (clear and Hi-intensity yellow were what existed then) lighter for his Eyeshades. He is headed to Europe to train and race and where can he get lenses? JJ obviously recognizes Greg and helps him out.

Greg heads to Europe and shows up in the pro peloton running his Eyeshades. Now for European cycling this is pretty brave. Nonetheless, a few other riders like Phil Anderson, Stephen Millar embrace the idea and they begin to show up in Eyeshades as well. Greg goes on to finish second in the Tour de France that year...wearing Eyeshades. Now they are recognized as a sports performance sunglass. A completely new idea and the pioneer of what has become a huge sunglass category of sports performance eyewear.

Meanwhile Triathlon is blowing up as a new sport. Tough, cool, California style and the athletes are very much into performance and technology. Oakley and Eyeshades are an immediate cool factor, especially with the like of Scott Tinley, Mark Allen and Scott Molina, the icons and opinion leaders of the sport all wearing Oakley Eyeshades. We also had this killer ad that showed all 3 with the headline "The Three Toughest Men Come To Us For Protection".

Later, we used the MX goggle technology to the Eyeshade and the emerging sport of mountain bike. Again the Eyeshade was an immediate status symbol amongst the core and provided eye protection that was once not even considered. Crazy enough Mike Bell came up with the idea to apply mini tear-off's to the Eyeshade. We made Oakley tear-off kits like we did for MX goggles. The Eyeshade tear offs were a fun idea, but never gained traction. The spent tear-offs on the trail also received ridicule from environmental groups as littering.

From this point on Oakley revolutionized the sports performance eyewear category and obviously spawned a huge movement, trends, innovations and further designs that now applies to practically every sport where eye protection is a necessity.

As for snow skiing. The trend of ski performance eyewear quickly gave way to the practicality and evolution of goggles.


Apr 27, 2017 10:08 PM
Who's the guy in the white t-shirt?
Apr 27, 2017 7:10 PM
Nope. Not MX or running. Any other guesses?
Apr 27, 2017 6:45 PM
Good guess. Seems most obvious and cycling was clearly the sport the Eyeshade got the most traction, but there is more to the story that I will share after someone gets closer to guessing the sport.

Any other guesses?
Apr 27, 2017 6:18 PM
I thought I would start a thread that would both stimulate trivia and also have a place that anyone can contribute to for discussing topics and determine fact versus fiction.

I'll start. Going way back to the Eyeshade. It was truly the style that pioneered the entire sports performance eyewear category as we know it today. What sport was the Eyeshade originally designed for?
Apr 27, 2017 6:08 PM
Yes, 3 sizes (variations). Freestanding eyewear, Counter top and Goggle display. A little trivia; The berry colored mirror was coveted and often stolen.
Apr 27, 2017 5:44 PM
During the formidable years at Oakley all employees were really considered "opinion leaders".

For the most part when we referred to "opinion leaders" they represented the "front row" of consumers who readily accepted and were leaders in driving new style trends. They were instrumental in influencing more of the follower consumers who waited for a tend to exist before they would buy it. The early on opinion leaders we referred to were mostly our athletes, but you could find opinion leaders across several areas including our employees. Our employees were opinion leaders to their friends, family and other who looked to Oakley as being interesting and inspirational.

Specifically for sports marketing we always hired ex athletes from the sports they would go back into and market. For Oakley to have the best athletes we needed to be respected by the athletes and also have a deep understanding of what the athletes needs were. Oakley sports marketing always prided itself on not being that company who merely gave athletes paychecks in hopes they would become ambassadors to the brand. Instead we prided ourselves for recognizing the most marketable athletes before our competition, but most importantly we were legitimate, and earned the athletes respect by living the life of the athlete. The result was having the best and most loyal athlete ambassadors in the industry.

For my latter years as SVP of Marketing I always tried to be that internal opinion leader to help inspire employees and help them best understand what makes the brand special. Especially since we grew so fast and only a few of us that had been with the brand during the challenging years. Being an internal opinion leader you understood the special nuances it took to keep the brand authentic to the core, but also capable of engaging with the mainstream. Oakley did this better than any other sports brand.

As for the Frogskin and Lux influence, the answer is no and yes. The Frogskin had come full circle in trend and we saw the re-release as a way to reconnect with the illusive young lifestyle consumer. We worked very hard to keep it exclusive and not distract from other new styles. Where Lux pushed is they didn't embrace or understand the idea of limited, or exclusive distribution and really pushed to open the floodgates of production.

Apr 27, 2017 4:41 PM
Does anyone remember the names of these early display cabinets? I'm not showing the largest one

- rhlake


They were referred to as "Zolatone" displays. It was the name of the material and paint finish we used.
Apr 27, 2017 4:29 PM

Sorry for the slow response to your previous post about my favorite Oakley product and/or accomplishment. I have been asked this several times and my feeling is that there are so many special moments and memories that I can't single out a specific one.

Over my 25 years we accomplished so much. Most important for me was our everlasting passion to be brave, break rules, doing things when we were told they could not be done and using the power of opinion leaders to literally establish amazing trends. We developed an iconic brand that literally became its own lifestyle with one of the deepest follower/loyalist base that so few brands have been able to accomplish.

We were also amazingly diverse in how we positioned the brand. From motocross to golf, surf to baseball, cycling to shooting, Olympics to X Games, from athletes to celebrities to even the Chilean miners. Not to mention as much as we avoided using the term "fashion" as a driver we influenced so many fashion trends. All because we were original, authentic and had the ability and bravery to create world moving moments.

It was most exciting when breaking a new style and seeing it show up on athletes, celebrities and in the media. We simply were the best in product placement. Right product, right influencers, right place. And to think back at all the places Oakley would show up is mind boggling. I can only think of one other brand that rivaled us in unique product placement and that was Nike.

Much of the reason for our success was that technology, innovation and our unique design ID gave us our legitimacy. It was the backbone of our existence. Our stuff worked for the most demanding situations and opinion leaders respected us for that.

We also loved a fight. Coming directly from Jim we also had the mindset to work harder when told something could not be done. It was in our DNA that everything can and will be made better. It was just a matter of by who and when. So when Jim was told that something could not be made better he would challenge that thought until we did it. This was not just in product design and innovation, but everything we did and many times the competition was our motivator.

As for favorite styles, I loved and was most proud of the brave stuff. Besides the Eyeshade (literally created and pioneered the multi-billion dollar sport performance eyewear category) and O Frame I would have to say that Blades, Rzr's, M Frames, Pro M's, A Frames, X Metal, Eye Jackets, E Wires, Monster Dogs, GasCans, Jawbones were the most significant for trendsetting and building the popularity of Oakley. Other breakaway styles had their place as well. Zeroes, Straight Jackets, Racing Jackets, Scars, Plates, OTT's all represented "pure" Oakley design ID and helped sell the more milder styles.

Some would say Frogskins, but truth be told us veterans were taught to hate the Frogskin. Jim hated the Frogskin. We looked at the Frogskin as the cash cow that funded our breakthrough stuff. At the time it represented cash flow that allowed us to launch the brave styles that were truly Oakley. Hence the name Frogskin. It stood for "greenbacks" or dollars. Granted we did some fun stuff with Frogskins in the way of colors, etc., but Jim always cautioned us to never let Frogskins to be the face of Oakley. Even as employees (opinion leaders) he always challenged us to wear the brave stuff. He even fired a sales rep once for only wearing Frogskins.

When we re-released Frogskins we tried to do it as discreetly as possible. For the same reason as in the beginning. Any brand could copy the Frogskin. It was basically a Wayfarer. So to rely on such a mainstream, un-original style could be very dangerous for a trend leading brand. I would place the Holbrook in the same place. Great for bringing follower consumers into the brand, but we could not sit on our butts and allow a mainstream style dictate the brand. Unfortunately, I feel Oakley has fallen into that rut today. Playing it too safe and not driving the trendsetting styles that lead the industry.

Again, so many great moments and memories. Too many to even remember.


Apr 27, 2017 3:39 PM
The Oakley 5

I recently received an email from the-o-man asking about the gold coin that accompanied the Teachers Edition Oakley 5 books.

I'm not sure if the Oakley 5 has been discussed in detail on O-Review. I think it is important to know that at the time establishing the Oakley 5 was an important part of Oakley's history. I'd be happy to answer any questions about the why, how and what of the Oakley 5. As well, I have all the books in digital. If you don't have them I think it would be valuable to the O-Review to archive them. Let me know where I can download them and I will do so. Scott

My response to the-o-man's email:

I recall doing 150 sets of the teachers sets. We only did the gold coins for the teachers sets. Receiving the Teachers set meant that you were specifically nominated to be a teacher of the Values and it was considered an honor.

Also, for the Oakley 5 book. There was a hard bound version that was given to employees who worked at Oakley at the time the Oakley 5 was launched. I'm guessing here were approximately 5000 produced. After the hard bounds were given out we switched to a soft bound version. As well, with the exception of a small run of a Japanese translated version they were all in English

An important note, after I had left Oakley there was a solid rumor that several thousand Oakley 5 books and Teachers sets were inadvertantly destroyed. Someone in the warehouse had mistaken the part numbers as old and written off inventory. Instead of doubling checking they sent them to the recycler. I'm of the understanding that Oakley never printed the books again. Scott

Apr 7, 2017 3:39 PM
There was an official connection with Rosa, but not in the way artist collabs are recognized today. Rosa was a dealer buying Blades & Razors, painting them, adding his decal to the box and reselling them. We weren't happy about it, but ended up using him as a vendor/supplier to paint them for us. I can't recall ever specifically promoting him or referring to anything as "Rosa Edition", but we also weren't denying that he was painting them.

The inspiration for M Frames was simply that there was still a demand for splatter. M Frame splatters evolved by using the fade in the base paint that we didn't have in Blades and Razors. I can't remember if Rosa did these or not. I'm thinking he didn't. Once FMJ and print paint (hydro dip) technology came along the splatters seem to fall out of trend.

Apr 5, 2017 8:33 PM

I don't recall these boots making it to market. Women's fashion boots and heels were right at a time where Scott Olivet joined Oakley as CEO. He really pushed us to reset and refocus the brand on sport performance and we quickly moved away from the "fashion", non-performance stuff.

Apr 5, 2017 8:28 PM

I don't think we did EyeJacket. Probably because it was late in the EyeJacket's life and we had so many colors at that point already. I can only recall Topcoat and Minute in FMJ copper.

Apr 3, 2017 2:27 PM
There you go. Shows my memory is getting a little rough.
Apr 2, 2017 8:07 PM
To answer the Romeo questions.

The launch party for X Metal was bad ass. We had it in the unfinished lobby of 1 Icon. The building was far from completion and the lobby was still exposed to the elements. It was raining the night of the party so the ambience was really cool. For your question if someone offered $1500 for the Romeo, it could have happened but I don't recall it being a highlight. We were constantly offered $$$ for early (and numbered) versions.

Beginning with Mumbo Jim would take, I'm guessing here, about the first 100 pairs directly off the production line and number each one in sequence. He would then give the early employees a numbered pair based on what number hired you were. He would also take several numbered pairs and archive them. Again, I can't recall how many were numbered, gifted and archived. I'm sure the number increased as we grew. However, Jim did not do that forever and I'm trying to remember when he stopped. I want to think Romeo might have been the last style that was numbered and gifted to employees.

For Romeo, I can't recall the sequenced numbered or the amount of Vaults were given to employees and friends of the company. I'm going to guess around 100-150. As you mention those pairs were placed in the large Vault and had a 4 digit serial number engraved in a plate. They were sequenced exact to being manufactured and not randomly pulled. 0001, 0002, etc.

All of the numbered and vaulted pairs came with Red socks, nose bombs and hinge bumpers. I can say that the red rubber color had nothing to do with Michael Jordan. I have had read for several years the reference to a Michael Jordan edition, but unless Jim had an inside story with MJ there wasn't any correlation.

As well with the red rubber socks, nose bombs and bumpers the only ones I recall having them were the numbered and vaulted pairs. My memory may be failing me, but I do not recall actively selling any with red rubber. Can anyone validate that they were actually sold to retail?

To note, Romeo did not sell fast in the beginning. It took a year or two and the compliments of Juliet before they really moved. I remember Jim nailing the sales guys for being wimps to not be selling more. X Metal was also a big departure both from what was expected from Oakley and also the optical industry. X Metal was crazy different and common with Oakley's most innovative and longest selling styles it took a year or two before they really got traction. So when you are talking early "limited" quantities of 5000 and another 9000 that seems very high to me and tells me the story isn't true.

For naming, Romeo was always the name that I recall and Jim's cigars had the influence. At the development stage I recall X Metal 1 as the internal name. I don't recall Oscar or Tiffany at all, so I would love to hear of the origin story you know. Those names do seem to have my recall for watches, but not X Metal. That's not to say they weren't' on Jim's radar. In those days Jim did the naming and the names were held closely up until we started getting close to production.

Apr 2, 2017 3:46 PM

Around '91 we started recognizing we had a bit of a following as some of our fans would submit photos of their collections and even their own paint they were doing to their Blades and Razors. We also recognized our deep cult following just from the massive "sticker" sales we had and how many cars you would see running them. We actually despised it a bit and felt the brand was getting over exposed. To the point we discontinued sales of 18" Themonuclear Protection decals.

It really wasn't until O-Review came along that we began to take collectors and loyalists more seriously. However, looking back, we should have been more engaged. We admired the loyalists, but took them for granted. It wasn't until around 2010 that we actually placed initiatives around loyalty. It's ironic as we always placed word-of-mouth marketing and peer influencing as our most important marketing, but it took us too long to activate around a group that were begging us to do more with.

Not sure where Oakley is today with loyalists. In modern brand development building loyalty and embracing fans are critical to a companies success.

Apr 1, 2017 2:52 AM
Crazy good collection. How'd you score the surfboard?
Apr 1, 2017 2:49 AM

Good collectors items. What a crazy phase those heel and boots represented.

Apr 1, 2017 2:46 AM

We were on fire in 2004 and 2005. Eye Jacket and E Wire were crazy popular and M Frame was finally getting traction in the sports performance category. We had grown through an over popularity phase, pulled back on old models that were hurting our image (Frogs, Blades, RZRs and 18" Thermonuclear Protection stickers). Our growth was on full trajectory mode. We were also beginning to sense going public. It was time to hit the gas and really diversify our sunglass categories and reach a broader audience. We changed our initial vision of leading sports performance eyewear and instead embraced a vision of being the leading innovation and design brand. This really opened our eyes to what is possible. We also were in negotiations to either move to Las Vegas (another story), or buy the 1 Icon property.

For Oliver Peoples, given our cash position and strategy to grow our reach it made sense to acquire a strong, boutique fashion driven brand. Oakley, through CEO Scott Olivet, was repositioned to win and sports and innovation. We also needed a piece of the luxury fashion market and OP was a great brand. We also liked their design and style approach. Traditional designs we couldn't and shouldn't try and reach with Oakley. All in all in was a good and amicable partnership.

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