Encinitas: “Surfing Madonna” – Bad, “Happy To Sit On Your Face” – Good?

10News and NBC San Diego both report that a controversial billboard in North County was taken down Thursday after it turned heads and sparked debate over its appropriateness. About a week ago, San Diego-based eyewear brand SPY put up a billboard on Highway 101 just off Encinitas Boulevard boasting the arguably racy slogan: “Happy to Sit on Your Face.”

The company said the slogan is directly tied to their new product, the “Happy Lens,” which launches next year, and is meant to be all in good fun.

I bought a pair… I didn’t get a happy face… They just felt overly snug…

The billboard, which read in big, block print, “HAPPY TO SIT ON YOUR FACE,” was an advertisement for SPY Optic, a Carlsbad-based company specializing in sunglasses, which technically sit on a person’s face.

According to a media release from the eyewear brand, the so-called “Happy Billboard” has been “widely enjoyed and celebrated by the community” – for the most part.

Turns out not everyone finds the humor in the ad.

According to SPY Optic, the company managing the billboard space has decided to take the sign down.

“Upon receiving feedback from a few local citizens about SPY’s new Hwy 101 billboard—that has been widely enjoyed and celebrated by the community—the advertising space’s management company has decided to remove it permanently,” according to a statement from SPY Optic. “Despite the billboard’s positive reception, an underwhelming minority made enough noise that the management company decided this afternoon to remove it first thing Thursday morning.”

According to the same release, residents also will be protesting and demanding for the sign to be reinstated.

The billboard was located right above the Moonlight Hair Design beauty salon.

“I thought that I read it wrong,” said salon owner Sarita Mihaly. “I thought that it was a joke.”

“Oh my God, that’s quite a sexual kind of comment to make in big bold letters like that,” said Encinitas resident Kathleen Anderson.

The billboard is the first piece of marketing that advertises SPY’s new Happy Lens line, which debuts early next year.

“You know, it seemed fun, seemed like a way to sort of embrace ‘let’s have a good time with this thing,'” said SPY Optic Marketing Director Devon Howard.
“We didn’t expect the response we’ve gotten. A lot of the response has been pretty good,” said Howard.

Howard said the patent-pending Happy Lens technology lets in blue light from the sun, increasing serotonin, making the wearer happier.
“It’s going to affect your circadian rhythm,” he said.

Howard said the company did not intend to offend anyone. He added some people have called them out on the advertisement.

“‘Hey, if you’d just put the sunglasses up, we would have got what you meant by it.’ I think that’s fair criticism,” said Howard.

It’s also an apparently successful ad campaign that drew 10News’ attention and has the community talking.

“It does create a lot of conversation in here and that’s always a good thing,” said Mihaly.