STAR POWER SELLS

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Famous star and mom Angelina Jolie boasts her Luxottica Ferragamo sunglasses on the street.

Celebrities continue making a huge mark on consumer sunglass purchasing decisions.

You’d be hard-pressed to ever find a red carpet without celebrities wearing sunglasses to enhance their look at star-studded events. Ever check out the pages of People magazine? There’s never a shortage of celebs spotted on the streets trying to go incognito behind their big shades.

With today’s fame-obsessed media, average Janes and Joes everywhere are constantly bombarded with images portraying their favorite actors, musicians, or athletes sporting the latest sunglass styles. This is a great tool for sunglass manufacturers and retailers alike, as it creates a buzz that inevitably drives sales.

We gathered some insight from two celebrity-centric sunglass Web sites—sunglassesID.com and celebrity-sunglasses-finder.com, to see how the power of celebrity sunwear has evolved throughout the years.

Vision Care Product News: Which celebrity today has the most influence on consumers when it comes to the sunglasses sales?

Sunglasses ID: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have an incredible influence on consumers, especially in eyewear fashion. Their popularity is still immense and the fact that they have a large collection of interesting sunglasses makes them the perfect trendsetters in this industry. Another famous celebrity is Tom Cruise, whose influence on the popularity of sunglasses in general has been invaluable since the 1980s, mostly thanks to his appearances with classic Ray-Ban® Wayfarers and Aviators, now made by Luxottica Group, in the movies Risky Business and Top Gun.

Celebrity Sunglass Finder: Miley Cyrus! Miley obviously has a huge following and is seen regularly on TV and in other media wearing big and flashy designer sunglasses. Naturally, kids will want to look

Fans of Miley Cyrus are sure to want to check out Quay Eyeware once they see her sporting shades from the Australian brand.

like their favorite celebrities and will copy everything they do, with sunglasses being no exception.

VCPN: Which iconic celebrity from the past do you think was most well-known for her or his choice of sunglasses?

Sunglasses ID: Audrey Hepburn with her large Ray-Ban sunglasses in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s is historically probably one of the most well-known celebrities with sunglasses; since that film, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer has been very popular with female celebrities both on the big screen and in real life.

In the 1960s, several other iconic celebs increased the popularity of specific sunglasses, including John Lennon with the tea-shade sunglasses and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis with her trademark dark oversized sunglasses.

Celebrity Sunglass Finder: The classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer style made popular by the Blues Brothers has had a major influence on sunglasses, and it is still the most popular style worn by celebrities today.

VCPN: What kind of impact do you think celebrities have on the purchasing decisions made by sunglass buyers?

Sunglasses ID: The impact is extremely valuable in two ways. On our Web site, I show a very direct link between a celebrity and a certain model of sunglasses, which can be a reason for someone to buy that same pair. On top of that, celebrities are linked to a brand identity in general. A celebrity can be an extension of the brand.

Even the biggest brands in the industry need to reinforce their brand values with celebrity ambassadors—and not only ambassadors that are paid to appear in ads for the brands, but also celebs that are seen with sunglasses in entertainment magazines, sports events, or on the red carpet. Celebrities or fictional characters are in that sense an essential and very effective vehicle to influence brand identity. Great examples are James Bond connecting Luxottica’s Persol to film and glamour, and Lance Armstrong connecting Oakley to sports and the outdoors.

Celebrity Sunglass Finder: The power that celebs have over the decision of a sunglass buyer is huge! I’d be willing to bet that celeb influence is so strong that you could change a consumer’s mind

Tom Cruise never goes far without his trademark Luxottica Ray-Ban Aviators.

about a style that she didn’t like by showing her a photo of her favorite celeb wearing the same style. In some instances, the brand can become irrelevant if she likes how it looks on a celebrity. Not everyone is affected by what celebrities are wearing, however, a majority of people want to feel like they’re in fact celebrities themselves and will buy anything to look like one.

VCPN: Does any specific area of the entertainment business—movies, music, TV, or sports—have more power than the rest when it comes to their stars driving sunglass sales?

Sunglasses ID: Sunglassesid.com focuses on eyewear seen in movies and TV series, and for a reason! The appearance of a pair of sunglasses in a film has a long-term value, especially in a film that becomes a classic, but even so in any other popular film. I can say: “I have the same sunglasses that James Bond wears in Casino Royale.” That’s something that my friends can relate to and has a deep value for myself since I can feel like my favorite movie character every time I wear the glasses.

A celebrity’s personal shades, seen in paparazzi shots, for example, have power as well, since it means that the celebrity has chosen these shades himself and wears them “in real life.” A perfect ex-ample is the appearance of the large orange Blublocker sunglasses in the recent box office hit The Hangover. This relatively unknown pair of shades has been on top of the most popular list on our Web site since the film came out in the summer of 2009!

Celebrity Sunglass Finder: Usually TV has the most influence over people because sunglasses can be seen on almost any program. Often people seen on TV will be wearing the latest and greatest styles around. With the amount of sunglasses available on the market today, it can be overwhelming to a consumer. If they see someone wearing something cool on TV, it’s usually a lasting impression that will ultimately influence their decision when buying.

VCPN: Sunglasses have always carried a certain ‘star power.’ Do you think this has become stronger today or was it more powerful in the past?

Sunglasses ID: Today, the star power of sunglasses is really strong—celebrity lifestyle is so hot at the moment. Sunglasses are an essential and visible part of almost every celebrity, and copying this part of the lifestyle has become easier with the rise of the Internet. You can do a search on sunglassesid.com, find out the brand and model of sunglasses you’re looking for, and order them instantly at one of the online stores, regardless of which brand you’re seeking or where you live. Only 15 years ago, this was much harder or almost impossible to do. So, modern technology along with the ever-growing popularity of celebrity culture have made star power even more strong.

Celebrity Sunglass Finder: The association of “star power” that comes with wearing sunglasses is stronger today than ever. After seven years of selling sunglasses myself, I have literally seen customers buy sunglasses solely on the fact that they like how the frames looked on a celebrity from TV or in a movie, even if they didn’t look good on them! Celebrities could even make 3-D glasses cool.

Ana Montoya is Associate Editor of Vision Care Product News.

WHERE TO FIND IT
Celebrity Sunglass Finder
celebrity-sunglass-finder.com

Luxottica Group
800-422-2020 • luxottica.com

Oakley, Inc.
800-733-6255 • oakley.com

Quay Eyeware
213-629-5893 • quayeyeware.com.au

Sunglasses ID
sunglassesID.com

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