Geek Trivia

Which Of These Films Led To Increased Popularity And Sales Of Wayfarer Sunglasses?

The Karate Kid
Dirty Dancing
The Blues Brothers
Risky Business
In An Effort To Cull The Out-Of-Control Rabbit Population, The Australian Government Turned To?

Answer: Risky Business

Introduced in the 1950s, Wayfarer sunglasses rocketed in popularity and became an iconic element of 1950s style that, even today, evokes the era. While still popular in the 1960s, by the 1970s, sales had fallen dramatically and Ray-Ban was in a bit of a financial tight spot.

In 1980, Wayfarers made a pretty iconic appearance in the film The Blues Brothers, but despite the enormous popularity of the film and the injection of the glasses into the public consciousness once again, seeing the sunglasses as cool on the silver screen didn’t translate very well into consumer desire or increased sales. Two years later, the company hired the firm Unique Product Placement of Burbank, California to negotiate appearances of their sunglasses in over 60 films and television shows per year from 1982 through 1987 (an effort continued through 2007).

The film that really kicked off the public interest in Wayfarers again was 1983’s Risky Business starring Tom Cruise. The movie poster, seen here, features Cruise staring over the rims of the glasses and the film itself featured him wearing them frequently. After the film came out, sales skyrocketed to 360,000 pairs of sunglasses per year. They also cropped up in numerous other places like The Breakfast ClubMiami Vice, and Moonlighting. Within a few short years, Ray-Ban was selling 1.5 million pairs of Wayfarers per year.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.