Eyeglass Chains Tap Pile for Reviews

CHICAGO Luxottica Retail’s Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut chains have contracted Pile and Co. to manage reviews for the brands, the consultancy confirmed.

Combined annual ad spending is approximately $15 million, mainly for Pearle, which last year received $12 million in ad support, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Pearle’s incumbent agency is independent Stern Advertising in Columbus, Ohio. Sunglass Hut has in the past worked with the New York office of independent Taxi.

Agency and client officials could not immediately be reached for comment. A Pile representative would not elaborate or discuss details.

Sources said Pile issued proposal requests to agencies this week on behalf of the Cincinnati-based client. Though geography isn’t a strict criterion for inclusion, Eastern and Midwest shops are strongly preferred, per sources.

A Stern spot for Pearle tells the story of a woman who needs prescription sunglasses. The commercial highlights the company’s four-decade heritage and features the chain’s longtime tagline, “Nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle.”

The reviews come a year after Luxottica placed its $90 million media account and the creative portion of its Lenscrafters business into review via Boston-based Pile. Publicis Groupe’s Starcom won the media review, while Omnicom Group’s DDB scored Lenscrafters’ creative. Both shops pitched out of their Chicago offices.

Dr. Stanley C. Pearle, who wanted to create a single place where people could get a complete eye exam, frames and corrective lenses, founded Pearle in 1961. Luxottica Group bought the company in 2004.

Pearle has about 900 locations. Sunglass Hut has about 1,500 stores and sells high-end frames (by Luxottica’s Ray-Ban and others) as well as wristwatches.

Designer eyewear has been an active category of late. Independent Duffy & Shanley in Providence, R.I., last month was hired for creative, media and public relations by Foster Grant [Adweek Online, Sept. 19]. The mission, according to the shop, is to revitalize the brand in the national marketplace with work that debuts early next year. Milan, Italy-based Ray-Ban in May moved to Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco after a review.