The Aviator – What makes a brand withstand a century of competition?

I would argue it is the successful internalisation of emotions. For example, when you see a coke bottle you think refreshment and relief. The sight of a bottle of Mrs. Butterworths  maple syrup reminds me of how Sunday morning conversation over pancakes often begin, ‘can you pass the Mrs. Butterworths’.

The Power of Brand Association

To develop this brand association through the years, the brand focuses on commercials that placed the product at the centre of meal time for children make interacting with emotions towards the product a learnt association. Through these adds Mrs. Butterworths the brand became as part of the American Family. This evokes a sense of homeliness and affection to an otherwise homogenous product.

The Aviator: Iconic American imagery

Aviator sunglasses have stood an even greater test of time because they have been able to invoke a pavlovian response from consumers of American culture. The Aviator sunglasses  evoke a sense of masculine authority, power and control deeply embedded in American pop-culture.

After World War one the American military machine became arguably one of the biggest participants in the consumption of American products. The glasses manufacturer Ray-Ban capitalised on this and developed military grade a eyewear protection solution to pilots, it positioned itself as the accessory of dynamic powerful men.

Aviators, named after the pilots that needed the glasses to fly the plane, without which your life as a passenger was at the mercy of the suns glare on a pilots eyes. Aviators made flight at high altitudes safer, in doing so the brand sought to connect this deep trust and goodwill with Aviators as a product.

Top Gun, Tom Cruise, need I say more?


The distinctive shape of the aviator brand has been its defining feature and best asset at a brand. Companies all over the world have tried to copy this design, counterfeit aviators have become so widespread that there are entire websites devoted to spotting the fakes.

Aviators as a Fashionable Accessory: The Evolution of Cool

The brands continued success beyond this customer segment is due to its remarkable ability to transition this brand association into style, the brand exploded when it was able to be relevant to other valuable customer segments. This was possible by keeping the distinctive shape of the aviator sunglasses as the focal point.

The corporate C.E.O may not require aviator sunglasses to do his job, but it does conjure up  the imagery of a man in control of his own world and not requiring to consult others to make decisions. Individualism, dynamism, the decision-maker that matters, absolute trust.


On November 2 2016, Joe Biden the former American vice-president campaigned for the democratic party in Florida and gave an otherwise predictable and mundane speech. Charismatic as he is otherwise, when he puts on the aviators the crowd goes wild. With two hands, Biden careful places the aviators on almost as a writer would eyeglasses to see the words he has written. The gesture is as if to say I’m here todo powerful things I’m going to look good while I do it, and with that he made brought political discussion into



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