What’s common between Top Gun’s Tom Cruise, Dabangg’s Salman Khan, Johnny Depp’s hippy aura and Shah Rukh Khan’s uber-cool looks?
Sunglass brand Ray-Ban, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, has been the evergreen love of these iconic characters for decades. The brand has not only shared screens with dignitaries but has now become a perfect fit for product placement in movies and other programmes. An aggressive marketer otherwise, Ray-Ban has today become a lesson in in-movie brand placement that quite a few can learn a thing or two from.
Perhaps examples that come closest to this are Spanish Tourism in ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and Volvo in ‘Three Idiots’, where the brand integral to the script without adhering to mundane tactics of brand mentions or cameras panning on to the product from different angles or equally worse, the product just lying somewhere in the background with little or no use to the story at that point in time.
Ray- Ban in ‘Dabangg’ is a perfect example of how effective in-film product placements can be in an overall brand marketing strategy, when done with panache.
Bollywood heroes love Ray-Ban
Ray- Ban has undertaken various marketing initiatives, leading with it campaign ‘Never Hide’, in the year gone but it really was the role that the brand played in ‘Dabangg’ that extended its ‘cool’ quotient to a much wider target audience. Dabangg’s Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan’s character) and the signature style of tucking his glasses behind his collar that struck the youngistaan worked wonders for Ray-Ban. One could not help but notice the brand every time it appeared on-screen and soon after Ray-Ban’s presence became more obvious in movies that followed.
This legacy was carried forward in ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and ‘Singham’, where a policeman cannot be spotted without a moustache and Ray-Ban glasses. Apart from the marketing spends, the in-product placement in movies has lifted the image of brand and has made the people believe that the brand is not only for the premium segment but also for the masses. Much like was seen at the time of Top Gun, when after the movie’s release, a 40 per cent increase in sales for the Aviator brand was seen, Dabangg allowed for a similar trend in India too.
In India, Delhi and Mumbai are the biggest markets for Ray-Ban sunglasses. The target group for this high-end product is people aged between 25 and 35 years in the A1-A2 economic category.
During its ongoing celebration of 75 years of making sunglasses, Ray-Ban has reintroduced its 1978 Ambermatic lenses into a range of timeless aviator frames.
The big marketing push
The brand’s massive global marketing effort, the ‘Never Hide’ campaign, was launched in 2007 to target the young and non-conventional consumer. It urged consumers to ‘Never Hide’ in front of 100 million people by submitting their photo and get 15 seconds of fame with that photo shown on a huge billboard on Times Square.
In celebration of its 75th anniversary, Ray-Ban released an ad featuring a sharply-dressed gay couple holding hands in the middle of a busy sidewalk. Other shots show women running through a rainy street in their lingerie, and a couple going in for a dip in the middle of a crowded dance floor. Each ad carries the message ‘Never Hide’. The print ads won two Gold Press Lions at 2012 Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
The brand also rides high on the success of viral marketing. It has created videos that have taken the internet by storm. The videos do not show how cool or how durable the sunglasses are but yet they manage to communicate the message in a subtle way. They have combined several media channels to communicate one message in different ways that are entertaining and almost unrealistic. These kinds of videos are interactive and consumers don’t rate these as a commercial and conveniently pass it along unlike a TVC.
The brand has formed a production company called ‘Never Hide Films’ – complete with its own YouTube channel that has to date produced several viral videos. The video entitled ‘Guy has glasses tattooed on his face’ is one of the videos that has garnered the maximum eye balls.
Through augmented reality called the ‘Ray-Ban Virtual Mirror’, the brand is bridging the gap between viewing and actually trying the product. Through the virtual mirror, the consumer seems to try on actual sunglasses. The brand has urged its customers to be a part of the legend by writing a short text and uploading a picture or video for a chance to win a free trip to Ray-Ban’s 75th anniversary celebration in Mumbai.
Apart from spending heavily across various medium and never hiding from creativity, the brand’s reason for success remains etched in the product placements in movies and programmes. It makes everyone believe that it has trickled its way down to the masses in a way most brands can only hope for.
For the record, the American sunglasses brand was found in 1937 by Bausch & Lomb. These were first introduced for the United States Army because the Army wanted sunglasses that would protect the soldiers’ eyes from harmful light while maintaining a stylish look. In 1999, Luxottica Group bought Ray Ban from Bausch & Lomb for $640 million.