Sunglasses company pays for new billboard message

Last time it was provocative; this time it's ambiguous…or is it not?

New Spy billboard in Encinitas
  • New Spy billboard in Encinitas

Spy, a sunglass company based in Carlsbad, has created controversy again, with their newest billboard on Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Last week, a new (possibly provocative) billboard message was put up to promote the firm’s Happy Lens sunglasses.

In 2012, as reported here, the company’s first billboard caused the sign’s owners, Clear Channel Communications, to remove it for because, they said, it was an offensive ad. Fans of the ad protested.

The meaning of the current billboard has become a guessing game. The company will not state what the letters stand for.

Devon Howard, director of marketing for Spy, says, “It’s a pretty serious world out there; we’re just trying to have some fun, give people a reason to smile.”

I asked people passing by what they thought the sign meant. Andrea from La Costa said she thought it meant “Happy To Face You.” Both Michelle from Cardiff by the Sea and Dana from Solana Beach (who both work in the shopping center under the billboard) said they see the sign every day and were perplexed. “It’s probably a sexual connotation,” said Dana. Michael from Solana Beach said, “I think we all know what it’s supposed to mean.”

The company confirmed that the first word is definitely “happy,” after their brand of sunglass lenses. Spy’s Howard says the company will let the public decide what it means.

There’s a contest on the firm’s website with prizes for the most creative answer.

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