Sponsorship is playing a major role in Maui Jim’s marketing strategy.

The marketer of Hawaiian-themed prescription and non-prescription sunglasses sponsors roughly 300 events a year including endurance sports events, country music festivals, boat shows, golf tournaments and other events that draw outdoor lovers and other people who spend time in the sun.

Ties include the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, ATP Tour and local events such as the Naperville Wine Festival presented by Northwestern Mutual.

Music festivals also play a major role in Maui Jim’s sponsorship portfolio, with a growing focus on country music. The company this year signed new partnerships with We Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minn. and Country Jam in Grand Junction, Colo.

The ties build on a portfolio that includes the CMA Music Festival (Nashville), Bottlerock (Napa, Calif.) Faster Horses (Brooklyn, Mich.), Kaaboo (San Diego), Route 91 Harvest (Las Vegas) and Watershed (George, Wash.).

Maui Jim uses sponsorship to build visibility, engage trade partners, access new sales channels and educate consumers about the functionality of its products.

“At Maui Jim sunglasses, events and sponsorships are one of the key elements of our marketing plan because it is a way for our company to engage directly with consumers. We want to give consumers an opportunity to try on our sunglasses and experience first-hand the lens technology in our PolarizedPlus2 lens.” said Alicia Choitz, Maui Jim director of sponsorship and events.

Maui Jim activates events with two build-outs (“Flying Jimmy” and “Jimmy Jr.”) where attendees can check out, try on and purchase product. Maui Jim eyewear sells for $169 to $349 per frame.

The company also leverages sponsorship with local accounts, said Choitz, who invites representatives from local eyecare professionals and/or sunglass specialty shops to help staff the booths.

Maui Jim also has a presence at events initiated by trade partners. For example, the company had a vendor presence at last weekend’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival via a partnership initiated by St. Charles Vision, a local optometrist.

Maui Jim also sponsors the proprietary Maui Jim Ocean Shootout to promote its Hawaiian roots. The June 2-4 event will feature 10 individual sprint races and two co-ed races in multi-disciplined events.