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BRAND X: Ray On

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Brand: Ray-Ban
Agency: Deutsch (NY)
Executive Creative Director: Kathy Delaney

Regis, buddy, you can go take a flying . . . In a new campaign for Ray-Ban, a cool old guy wearing retro aviator sunglasses looks out from under the banner headline I DON'T WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE. Other than a quick tag line in small print -- RAY-BAN. GENUINE SINCE 1937 -- that's all the ad says. And that's all it needs to say, because Ray-Ban's new parent company, Luxottica, the Italian luxury-eyeglass manufacturer, is smart enough to recognize what it bought for $637 million from Bausch & Lomb last summer: an American classic. Upcoming ads feature similarly gritty portraits of Ray-Ban-wearing hard-asses: men and women who pose under headlines including I EAT RED MEAT, MOST OF MY HEROES ARE ANIMATED, AND DON'T CALL ME SWEETIE. For industry leader Ray-Ban, which enjoys 30 percent of the $1.5 billion U.S. premium-sunglass market, the campaign represents a step away from its recent trendy TV spots featuring sexy young vampires. Since Luxottica can count on Hollywood to appropriate the glasses (Tom Cruise wore Ray-Bans in Top Gun, as did Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black; neither movie collected a product-placement fee), it's repositioning Ray-Ban as a thoroughly unpretentious brand -- a counterpoint to some of the other names in the Luxottica eyewear stable, including Chanel and Armani. If you want to be a millionaire, wear those, sweetie.


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