At trade fairs as well as at sporting events all over the world, the large black Rudy Project truck rapidly turns into a booth with office space and a display area for the brand's sports eyewear lines. It has become a highly distinctive feature of this Italian company from the area of Treviso, where many important sporting goods companies are located.
On the other hand, Rudy Project has revisited the structure and the graphics of its website, adding in particular a ?product selector? that helps the visitor to choose the best possible product from its range to fit his or her personal taste and needs. It has also introduced a ?photo contest,? inviting consumers to send over pictures of themselves wearing Rudy Project glasses while practicing their favorite sports activity. The website continues to update its visitors on the performances of the numerous sports champions sponsored by the brand.
Rudy Project is entirely dedicated to sport with a highly targeted marketing strategy focusing on events. Some 10,000 athletes worldwide endorse the company's eyewear, including 49 Olympic medalists of whom 27 won the coveted Gold, but the vast majority get its glasses for free because they want to wear them ? not because they get paid to do so. Aside from that, Rudy Project is the official supplier of Desafio, the Spanish team competing in the America's Cup, and of the Tour de France cycling event. It has signed its most recent important sponsorship contract with Ivan Basso, the 29-year-old member of the Discovery Channel who won the latest Giro d'Italia, the famous Italian cycling tournament. He was already wearing Rudy Project.
Aside from its obvious commercial function, the company's promotional activity is a way of experimenting and co-developing new solutions and advanced technologies with the athletes for sunglasses and prescription eyewear with specific functions. One of the most successful models shown at the last SILMO was Exception, where the lenses can be changed and the temples and the nose pads can adapted to fit the conditions in which the glasses are used.
In 2005 Rudy Project sold around 400,000 pairs, generating sales of €12 million, which was roughly 5 percent more than the year before. Its regular sunglasses, which use NXT photochromatic polarized lenses, are made by local manufacturers in the Belluno district, not far away from Treviso. They retail between €80 and €250. Other sports items, such as ski goggles and cycling helmets, are made in China.
Rudy Project's product range is distributed in some 65 countries. Retail distribution is roughly 50 percent through specialty sports retailers and 50 percent through optical outlets, with countries like Italy favoring the former circuit and Japan the latter.