When you put on a pair of sunglasses, you conceal your eyes from the sun’s impending glare. Maybe you are covering up the smeared eye make-up from last night. It’s possible you don’t really feel like making eye contact. When you are wearing sunglasses, you are essentially hiding. In 2007, Ray ban, one of the leading producers of sunglasses, came out with an ad campaign titled “NEVER HIDE”. The campaign is a little ironic if I say so myself. These ads feature young adults doing extreme activities like crowd surfing, sky diving or riding a motorcycle in their 200 dollar sunglasses. The sunglasses themselves can’t give you the cajones to take a risk, but Ray Ban sure does make a pretty persuasive argument.
These advertisements are very thought provoking and have straight-forward ideas coming through the photos. Ray ban’s advertisements evoke the feeling of rebellion and youthfulness. Ray Ban commands you to never hide, to get out in public and show yourself off to the world. They want you to take bold choices and stand out from the crowd by doing things not everyone would have the guts to do. One gets the feel of individuality when looking at the images. The Never Hide ad exudes the ideology of individualism, but in fact, millions of people wear their product. Ray Ban is asking you to do something that will set you apart from the rest and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Ray Ban associates their glasses with hip, free thinking, non conformist youths who are always looking for a good time. People who sport Ray Bans get noticed. It’s not a secret Ray Ban is focusing on the younger generation as their main customer. The thing that humors me is the fact that in order to afford these glasses, you better spend some time making the money. The target audience doesn’t usually have the time to spend many days in the sun when having to support themselves, especially if they want to drop a considerable amount of money on one pair of sunglasses.
I feel like I’ve always been conscious of finding hidden messages in the popular culture I consume, but more critically since I’ve been taking humanities based classes in college. As an artist, it is difficult for me to take an image solely at face value. I’m constantly trying to understand what the artist’s intentions were when making the advertisement and what feelings they are attempting to evoke. Most popular culture ideologies make me feel like I’m missing something in my life and that this void could be filled by useless things like makeup and accessories that will make me “cool”. American ideologies of success and wealth just make me depressed. I just want to be comfortable and happy.
Ray Ban does a brilliant job selling their product to the masses. Never hide, although slightly paradoxical, has made the company millions of dollars by trying to sell you a lifestyle through an accessory. Personally, I’m happy buying the 5 dollar knock offs from a mall kiosk, but seeing as how Ray Ban is a multimillion dollar sunglass empire, people are buying them in record numbers. The tagline Never Hide works because even if you want to hide a part of your face, Ray Ban’s will get you noticed and truly hiding becomes impossible