Ray-Banned: Rand Paul pulls ‘Rand-Ban’ sunglasses from campaign store

Republican presidential candidate U.S. Senator Rand Paul.(Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul didn’t ask sunglasses company Ray-Ban before stamping his brand on their product. Now Ray-Ban has asked Paul to pull their Wayfarer glasses with his “Rand” logo from the campaign website.

The so-called “Rand-Ban” sunglasses were sold on Paul’s site in a store filled with items designed to woo young supporters. That is, they were on sale until Tuesday, The Hill newspaper reported.

Screenshot from http://randpaul.com

The Wayfarers ‒ that Ray-Ban sells for a starting price of $135 ‒ were listed at $150 and were described as “the intersection of politics and cool.”

But Ray-Ban didn’t think the Rand-Bans were so cool, especially because they never gave Paul or his campaign permission to use their product.

“We learned that the Rand Paul campaign had been selling Ray-Ban sunglasses imprinted with the ‘Rand’ logo without our consent,” Jane Lehman, head of corporate communications for Luxottica, the parent company of Ray-Ban, wrote in an email to The Hill.

“After a formal request from us, they promptly removed the product from their site and agreed to cease any further use of our trademarks,” she wrote.

Screenshot from http://randpaul.com

Ray-Ban may not have been the only entity upset about the sunglasses marketing. Paul used the Wayfarers to compare himself to President John F. Kennedy ‒ a Democrat whose family is still heavily involved in politics and liberal causes.

A picture of Kennedy in the iconic sunglasses resided next to one of Paul in a similar pair.

“I can hear Senator Bentsen now, ‘I knew Jack Kennedy and you're no Jack Kennedy’,” a caption on the site said. “Well, you and I may not be Jack Kennedy, but Rand likes Raybans [sic] and now we can all own Rand branded Raybans.”

“$150 is more than you might normally pay for sunglasses, but these are Raybans and even more, they are indelibly marked with the Rand Brand... and as always, it's a contribution to the Rand Paul for President campaign,” the caption continued.

The Paul campaign store has caused a stir with its tongue-in-cheek marketing and novelty items. But it’s not the first time a product has had to be updated.

On the afternoon the store was unveiled, which was also the day Paul announced his candidacy, a certain type of shoes was renamed “Rand Paul Sandals” from the politically charged “Rand Paul Flip Flops.”

Screenshots from https://randpaul.com

The Democratic National Committee parodied the store not long after it came online. The DNC created fake items to troll Paul’s positions on hot-button issues.