The government hired three drilling companies to compete to penetrate the mine, boosting the chance of a speedy rescue. Codelco, the state-owned copper producer running the rescue, reportedly budgeted $15 million for the operation.
As the families began their vigil, a mining company gave them jackets to protect them against the frigid desert night. That started a trend, as both private donors and state agencies committed to helping the miners, especially after they were found alive. Phone companies donated free mobile phone calls to families, workers, and reporters at the mine site and the government installed a Wifi network. Fishermen from the country's south delivered thousands of fish fillets. Clowns and singers came and performed for the families, keeping spirits high. Palumbo beauty clinic in the nearby town of Copiapo provided the miners' wives makeovers. Oakley donated sunglasses – reportedly retailing at $450 – to each of the miners.
In turn, each of those companies earned a healthy dose of free publicity. Oakley alone, according to research done for CNBC from Front Row Analytics, garnered $41 million in equivalent advertising time. And the Chilean government's approval ratings have soared during the multi-million dollar rescue mission.