Rick Gadd (l) and
Fabrizio Uguzzoni

DALLAS and NEW YORK—EssilorLuxottica is launching the first commercial product leveraging the strength of the new Group by strategically combining the expertise of Essilor and Luxottica and tapping the brand appeal of its most popular lines. The company's senior executives said that its latest edition of Ray-Ban Authentic "represents the perfect match of Ray-Ban’s legendary style and Essilor’s expertise in sight" and will capitalize on the assets of both to meet consumer needs with the aim of diversifying the single vision category as well as growing the prescription sun category for private practices.

This latest edition will launch on January 19. The launch will include Ray-Ban sunwear and optical frames and a range of over 1,400 lens-frame combinations available to consumers, including those featuring Transitions technology with photochromic lenses and blue light filtering. The new range also includes a Special Edition, enhanced with Essilor’s best-known and most innovative lens solutions such as Varilux, Eyezen and Crizal.

In an interview with VMAIL, the two executives talked about the combined product launch following on the heels of the EssilorLuxottica360 program, a new joint commercial program for ECPs, offering resources from both companies, which kicked off last year, as VMAIL reported last fall. Noting that EssilorLuxottica 360 "exceeded expectations," Rick Gadd, president Essilor North America, said, "This is very exciting. It's the first iteration of bringing the two companies together, via the best of technology and the best of fashion. Of course we've each been bringing lenses and frames together, but this is the culmination of bringing a complete pair together, to create excitement and value for ECPs' customers and patients."

Fabrizio Uguzzoni, president of Luxottica Wholesale North America, added, "We've been working on this for several months, and the success of EssilorLuxottica 360 gave us the confidence to know that the ECP sees the value of our bringing our best programs together. The positive thoughts about the two companies working together, the feedback is very gratifying. With Ray-Ban, when we launched Ray-Ban Rx lenses about two years ago, we saw a need and opportunity in the market for the consumer and an opportunity to elevate.

"Now, in collaboration with Essilor, we're taking the program embodying fashion, style and function to the next level. When we look at the brand, we all recognize it's an asset we need to take care of, and we have Essilor to bring this as a full brand experience. This is a product offering that will help shape the market for years to come,” added Uguzzoni. "With Ray-Ban Authentic we will deliver that, along with the most innovative lenses in the market, making this a magical melding of style and sight that will benefit ECPs and consumers alike.”

"The U.S. market is still a frame-to-come model and we don't want our customers to have to disrupt the way they do business with us," said Gadd. He noted that "ECPs will be able to order the new complete pair from their labs in the Essilor network and won't have to change the way they specify lens choices for their patients." Customers can still also order through MyLuxottica.com and then through the Essilor order processes.

Both executives noted that the Ray-Ban and Essilor sales forces have both been training to be better versed in both the Ray-Ban brand and its products as well as the full range of lenses and sun technologies. The program will feature the latest generation of clear, gradient and sun lenses, a "significant revolution made possible by the integration of Essilor and Luxottica. The key innovation is the ability to offer premium and lightweight lenses that perfectly adapt to the shape and curvature of the Ray-Ban frame, making the most of the latest optical technologies."

Gadd noted that the Ray-Ban brand etching on the lens itself and the perfect matching of the frame and the lens is noteworthy.

The pairing creates a new innovative category for a future of fully customized products for both customers and consumers, they emphasized. “This is a product offering that will help shape the market for years to come,” added Uguzzoni. "Consumers and patients—Ray-Ban lovers in particular—are hungry for a more complete branded experience."

“Private practices will now have an elevated and differentiated complete pair offering that taps into the deep-rooted passion and love of the Ray-Ban brand through Ray-Ban Authentic Essilor Special Edition,” said Gadd. “This is another way that EssilorLuxottica delivers for independent practitioners to maximize success and provide patients unparalleled style and sight through uncompromising care.”

More information is posted at EssilorPRO/Ray-Ban.

Looking forward, the two executives said EssilorLuxottica is already exploring other additional collaborations, including the recently announced smart glasses project with Facebook.