Eyes on Next Generation

Flip through the pages of any tabloid or celebrity-driven magazine and it's clear Ray-Ban is back on the scene.

Flip through the pages of any tabloid or celebrity-driven magazine and it’s clear Ray-Ban is back on the scene. The Wayfarer is making a comeback, with the help of Fabio d’Angelantonio, marketing director at the brand’s owner, Luxottica Group, and his team.

This story first appeared in the September 27, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“It’s been a privilege to take a brand with 70 years of history and build its future,” d’Angelantonio said. “It’s a product driven by technical innovation.”

Luxottica Group manufactures, designs and distributes prescription and sunglass frames for brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan and Burberry, but since acquiring Ray-Ban in 1999, the sunwear brand has experienced double-digit growth. “We worked to increase the quality of the product,” he added. “We closed distribution for six months to work on it.”

The next challenge for Ray-Ban is to continue brand building. D’Angelantonio has no interest in becoming part of the “fashion cycles,” and instead wants to seek out longer-term endorsements for Ray-Ban from the new generation of 18- to 21-year-olds. And he emphasized the marketing of Ray-Ban is focused on people who are “authentic individuals.”

“Be yourself,” he stressed.

On that note, in March, Luxottica rolled out its new media campaign called “Never Hide.” Although celebrities have helped to bring the Wayfarer back to the masses, the campaign focuses on “regular guys and girls.”

When the campaign was introduced in New York’s Times Square, Luxottica launched with an interactive approach with 12 large screens projecting home video images of people throughout the area. The interactive campaign also made its way onto Ray-Ban’s Web site, which turned out to be a winning strategy, d’Angelantonio said. During this time, the site had 550,000 visitors and 7,800 photos uploaded. Overall, the site has had six million visitors during the first half of 2007, which is a 135.6 percent increase over the first half in 2006.

But the interactive launch was just one piece of the marketing effort. Luxottica also tapped eight directors to put together their own viral films about “Never Hide.” The films, which were mentioned on CNN and CBS, resulted in more than four million views in just four weeks on ray-ban.com.

The marketing all appears to be paying off, as Ray-Ban is the number-one selling sun and optical brand worldwide, d’Angelantonio said. “We’ve never had such results from a campaign,” he said.