Ray-Ban Promotion Strategies

Ray-Ban in the 20th century has been able to prove its ability to maintain parallelism between its products and the century’s style determined by the American Culture. A decade breakdown will prove this parallelism successful. In the 1930’s to the 1940’s the Aviator style was introduced, perfectly complementing the number of social phenomenon pertaining to this decade. There was a dramatic increase in interest for aviation and all the machines and technological advances that came with it.
One of the most influential publicity acts the brand experienced for men, was when General Douglas McArthur[1] landed his military plane at the World War II base in the Philippines sporting a newly released pair of Aviator sunglasses. The famous picture of the General wearing his general’s hat, smoking a tobacco pipe and the Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses really pushed Aviator’s, as well as Ray-Ban, over the top. These sunglasses became part of the highly respected pilots’ equipment. The men confided in the Aviator’s fine quality and protection against optical harm.
Women were also added into this look group when one of times most famous female aviator, Amelia Earhart, was also spotted with a pair of Ray-Ban’s Aviators. During the next decades, the world was bouncing back from the terrible times of war. The population had seen and experienced enough suffering allowing only growth and happiness to take place. The economy was progressing to a point where people were forgetting their sorrows and only concentrating on all the heroes which were coming home. Women were also gaining from this growth by increasing their rights. They could finally work.

This time had become filled with enjoyment, glamour, color, and rock’n’roll[2]. With this change in era, Ray-Ban needed to keep on top of their game and follow the present trends. Ray-Ban began offering a vast range of colorful frames to go along with the clothing style of the time. This caused the new dark lens sunglasses to become an iconic accessory while still having top of the line sun damage protection. This time and environment was the perfect situation for Ray-Ban to release their new line of sunglasses, the Wayfarer. They were the first sunglasses to have plastic frames yet considered to be of high quality.
Every aspect about these new sunglasses were attractive to the public. The new endless shape of the frame and fun advertising strategies immediately transformed the Wayfarers into the times, and presently, most sold model in history. In the 1960’s the United States took a technological turn for the best of mankind. President John F. Kennedy raises America’s hopes and dreams by announcing the plan of a man making a trip to the moon. With such amazing and quick advances in technology, Ray-Ban learned to do the same. Throughout this time Ray-Ban found they had the capacity to create sunglasses that were mounted in unbreakable frames.
They put on the market these sunglasses never even dreamed of before and were able to greatly increase the price of their sunglasses by 70%. This price increase was done to prove the quality of such a product and maintain a popular image of class. With this increase in popularity even more artists, musicians, movie stars, and television stars were publicly spotted wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses. Ray-Ban even began to make appearances in Hollywood movies as part of the everyday outfit of many characters[3]. The next decade brought on a whole mix of social compromises, as well as the desire to escape reality.
This led to the beginning of an interest in science fiction and its role in television and music. Consequently, the changing societal trends influenced the company’s new design and the use of more advanced technology. The new Ski and Sports Collection is introduced, with the two new styles called the Vagabond and the Stateside. At this point, Ray-Ban was making specialized sun glasses for mountain climbers with mirrored lenses, side protectors made out of leather, and nylon[4] mountings which would cover the ears inhibiting these glasses from falling.
This new line was creative but very limited in market segmentation. The segment was so small that advertising had to be real specific to the interest of the intended market. This was done by publishing in certain ski, outside skills and sports magazines as well as selling the sunglasses in sporting goods stores. Ray-Ban was also realizing its “Naturals” collection, created with the intention of being a more casual line. This collection went hand-in-hand with the new age of Disco music and glamorous Rock.
The sunglasses consisted of larger frames with a larger variety of softer more matte colors with outlines in metals such as silver and gold. The lenses were degraded to a point where the sunglasses were perfect for day and night use. Due to the fact that this new line went hand in hand with the social trends of the moment, advertising was a breeze. Ray-Ban introduced advertisements which simply informed the population about their product. By just informing the population was interested in what they saw and took a liking to the new style. During this time there was also the release of the Ambermatice sunglasses.
These consisted of adjustable lenses meaning, they would change different colors in order to adjust to the conditions of the sun and more efficiently protect the eyes from the rays. On sunny days the lenses would become darker allowing more protection, while on a cloudy day the lenses were lighter giving off an amber color. These sun glasses were intended for those athletes who were constantly exposed to the sunlight but the style took flight and became a quick trend. Big athletes such as David Beckham, were used as the advertising strategy for this new line.
By showing different athletes sporting this new athletic collection, Ray-Ban was luring in a whole different market segment. Ads were all about sports and being manly which allowed men to feel comfortable buying themselves a pair of sunglasses. The world was then introduced to Wings by Ray-Ban. A unisex style of sunglasses defined as being “aerodynamic and revolutionary”, and were thought to be the predecessors to the sunglasses with the opened up lenses (these were the lenses which were held in place only by half of the mounting, generally in their upper area), which appeared solely 20 years after the introduction of the “Wayfarers”.
These appealed to the public’s new interest of gender equality. Ray-Ban advertised this as the idea behind the look creating a who new meaning for these sunglasses. This reached out to the public greatly making “Wings” a very successfully marketed collection. Ray-Ban’s popularity kept expanding not only due to the great success in publicity and their relationship with fashion, but because of their constant appearances in Hollywood. The Blues Brothers, Risky Business and Miami Vice are all examples of popular movies which increased Ray-Ban’s popularity.
But, it was definitely Tom Cruise and Kelly McGills award winning film Top-Gun that pushed Ray-Bans sales through the ruff. It was during this increase in success that Ray-Ban was awarded two very prestigious recognitions. In 1985 , the same year Top-Gun was released, the company was recognized as “The Best Sunglasses in the World” by the Council of Fashion Designers of America[5]. Due to this recognition, Ray-Ban’s owner Luxottica, is able to become a corporate affiliate of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America)[6].
Four years later, Ray-Ban receives another recognition and is awarded the Woolmark Prize in 1989, for their ability to influence the look of a North American male. In the 90s, Ray-Ban continued to be featured in films and TV shows in which various of the protagonists were displayed sporting mostly Wayfarers. Reservoir Dogs, for example, has the opening scene in which a few of the film’s characters are shown actually putting the sunglasses on.
Recurrent placement is what made Ray-Ban sunglasses famous “Ray-Ban now places its glasses in 160 films and TV shows each year”[7] This decade also brought about the development and patenting process of “DiamondHard Scratch-Protection”. This was a covering put on the lenses of the sunglasses that would make them ten times more resistant that the usual anti-rupture lenses. This lead to a boom of the Orbs style, which was dark framed classes sometimes having strange designs that consisted of a very thin mounting.
This and the Predator style both represent a great part of the success of the brand in recent years and their growing popularity within the male population. This was done by making more market specific commercials and displaying the men and women wearing these as fashionable and attractive. Once we reach the 21st century, the fashion industry seemed to be on a designer block. The new fashion was simply old styles with new qualities. [8] For Ray-Ban, this was great news. Once again Ray-Ban was able to put on store shelves their classic Aviator and Wayfarer styles simply renewed and with better quality.
Their advertisements for these classic retros were the same as when they were first introduced. The public seemed to love the look of old commercials and ads. Ray-Ban took a few steps backwards and a huge leap forward. In the year 2003 though, apart from traditional collection of sunglasses, there is the introduction of optical glasses using lenses created to fit in with the Ray-Ban designs. There is also the introduction of the Junior collection which is comprised of various models of the known styles simply designed to fit the visage of a child. At this point, Ray-Ban began to recognize how important children were to the market.
Fashion was becoming bigger even for children but Ray-Ban did not advertise to the children. Ray-Ban came up with ways to market this Junior collection to adults, parents. Ray-Ban showed matching “mommy and baby” sunglasses as the new fashion icon. Ever since Luxottica acquired the rights to the brand, previously owned by Bausch and Lomb[9], Ray-Ban has been constantly coming up with new slogans such as “Change your view”, and the most recent being “Never Hide”. These new publicity slogans are taking the interests of the coming generations and making it their objective.
Still using the classic styles but adding a great variety of color and design, these new slogans are telling the population to be themselves and not be afraid. To complete the introduction of these, in December 2008, the company had a concert called “Ray-Ban Remasters” which brought together numerous bands, celebrities, and artists. Instead of having many small advertisements Ray-Ban came out with a single big bang. A new strategy which until today seems to have worked, Ray-Ban is more than a brand of sunglasses. Over time Ray-Ban grew into a fashion icon.
Countless have said or say that they add a touch of retro and avant-garde style. Many would say they define your personality. When you choose a Ray-Ban you are often choosing an image shaped by history and strong personalities. If we take a look at the history of Ray-Ban’s sunglasses production, it was a company which sunglasses went through many ups and downs throughout most all of the products and styles. Due to the great struggle in the world’s economy, if any other company experienced the same path in which this one did, they would have definitely given up and carried on.
Ray-Ban, on the other hand, with their constant push to be up in the market and to be present in fashion, has sincerely proven to be victorious in their market strategy. Ray-Ban’s classic Wayfarers, was the brand which most struggle but ended up being the most sold sunglass brand to date. As discussed before, the Ray Ban Wayfarer was introduced in the early 1950’s. Their production began when Ray Ban decided to stray away from the common metal framed sunglasses and take a risky change. They used colorful plastic frames, an idea which took flight in the fashion world immediately. Wayfarers are sometimes cited as the best-selling design of sunglasses in history, and have been called a classic of modern design and one of the most enduring fashion icons of the 20th century. ”[10] The Wayfarers though, did not start off this way. These sunglasses started off with a strong stable position in the industry when they were introduced in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The new product was like a shiny new toy for all of America’s fashion industry. Once the fad quickly passed, Ray Ban’s sales quickly dropped.
Despite Ray Ban’s efforts to get artists, such as the Blues Brothers, to be human advertisements, by the 1980’s these sunglasses were no longer a success. Ray Ban had to change their promotion strategy and fast if there was going to be any chance of the Wayfarer surviving. In 1982 Ray Ban came to terms with their issue and took a large financial leap to correct this problem. A $50,000 yearly contract was signed with Unique Product Placement to have Ray Ban’s sunglasses on screen and in front of consumer eyes. The sunglasses would be appearing in movies and television shows.
Throughout this period Ray Bans were displayed in more than 50 shows and big screen movies per year[11]. Some of the most famous on screen phenomenon in which these appeared were “Risky Business”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Miami Vice”. Just four years prior, Ray-Ban had been considering discontinuing their Wayfarer product. Due to their new product placement contract, the Wayfarer Sunglass peaked at $1. 5 million in sales in 1986 alone. This popularity did not stop with just films and television shows though. Ray-Ban made sure their incredible come back kept them on top. “Wayfarers were the decade’s sunglasses of choice. ”[12]
As the 90s rolled around, once again the Wayfarers lost their great popularity. The great success they found in the 80’s just did not seem to stick. Ray-Bay though, being the true innovators that they are, learned how to deal with this issue quickly. In 2001, Ray-Ban had the Wayfarer undergo a dramatic redesign which included smaller frames which were also less pointed. They also changed from acetate, a cellulite compound used for binding, and changed it to a lighter plastic based chemical. The reasoning behind this redesign was to make the sunglasses more wearable and to have their physique be different and more appealing.
Wayfarers stuck it through and stayed in the limelight well into the late 2000s when celebrities decided to change their sunglass style to much larger vintage frames. The company’s designers quickly caught on to the new trend and realized how high the vintage Wayfarers were selling for on varies online bargaining sites. “Ray-Ban’s marketing strategy was threefold: a return to the sunglasses’ original, rebellious design, an ‘edgy’ advertising campaign and ‘high-profile PR events’, and the use of new media like MySpace to connect with consumers” Brunelli, Richard. “Ray-Ban Wayfarers: Made in the Shade”[13].
As of October 2007, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer became Luxottica’s third best selling style later increasing sales over 40%. Despite their past fails, Ray-Ban learned and put to practice great promotional strategies which lead them to success. One of the main reasons this company stayed solid and in business is because Ray Ban has always stayed true to having a clear and successful promotion mix. Not to be confused with marketing mix, promotion mix consists of: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, corporate image, direct marketing, and exhibitions.
When it comes to advertising, Ray-Ban can be considered experts. A great portion of the company’s success in being one of the most popular styles in the fashion world can definitely be awarded to Hollywood, TV, movie stars, and musicians, but it was mostly through the advertising strategies that Ray-Ban was able to expand and make themselves known. Ray-Ban’s constant evolving marketing campaigns is what truly set them apart from the rest. Wanting to keep up with the fast pace of the fashion industry Ray-Ban had to constantly come up with new ideas and products to adapt to new technologies.
Ray-Ban started off simply having picture ads, now Ray-Ban uses the internet, television, pictures, and even big screen advertising in the center of New York City. An example of an extremely successful advertisement campaign has been the “Never Hide” campaign, in which celebrities and regular Ray-Ban customers send in pictures of themselves sporting a Ray-Ban style to the company’s site. Many of these pictures are displayed in New York City’s big screens for everyone to see. Not only does this create demand but shows the company’s respect and love of everyone’s interest and creativity.
This doing can also be considered a sales promotion, marketing communication with the purpose of increasing consumer demand and stimulating market demand. Another promotion mix element is public relations which consist of stimulation of supply for a product by planting significant news about it or the producer in a well known favorable media source. Ray-Ban can pride themselves on the fact that the way they marketed their products through well known and highly respected sources, increased their products quality belief and promotes the company’s image positively.
The image of an organization is an extremely important part of marketing. In order to have consumer’s trust and their willingness to buy a product from a company, the company’s reputation must be a good one. Ray-Ban has no doubt, a very good image. This reputation has come from the stability it has maintained regardless of the constant roller coaster in the economy and market. Ray-Ban’s image also positively changed when the bigger, more respected company Luxottica bought out the brand. So in conclusion, Ray-Ban Sunglass company, has simply had the key to success from start to present, and that is marketing.

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