Specsavers launches new campaign as business eases out of lockdown in England

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Specsavers celebrates the real-life stories of customers and instore colleagues during lockdown as it announces in its new campaign that its doors are now open again for essential eye tests in England.

It launches with a 90-second film, We Were There, that tells the story of store colleagues and some of their customers during lockdown when its doors were closed apart from offering urgent and essential care. It shows how store staff had to change the way they worked to help people outside the normal test room environment, offering eye and hearing care for people in car parks, on doorsteps and at picnic tables. The ad will be shown for the first time on ITV1 on Saturday 13 June during Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow with a 30-second version then being run for a further two weeks from 20 June.

Specsavers global chief marketing officer, Katherine Whitton, says: ‘During lockdown we have focused on telling customer and colleague stories through social media and press with our Open for Care campaign. The situation gave us the opportunity to become content- led as we introduced a daily editorial board to plan and prioritise our content that went out seven days a week. It’s given us the opportunity to really demonstrate the authenticity and humanity of our brand, as perfectly shown through the actions and attitudes of the amazing colleagues we have. The wit of the brand has been replaced by the astonishing warmth of our colleagues in the campaign which just felt right for the moment we find ourselves in. No airs, no graces, no high production qualities or budgets – just real people helping real people in their time of need.

‘The results have shown that this approach has really resonated with the public, with average engagement on our social channels increasing by almost 65% during the pandemic. Research also shows that 50% of prospects who had previously rejected Specsavers claim to be more likely to consider the brand in the future after seeing the real-life stories that emerged during lockdown.’

The campaign was devised by Specsavers’ in-house creative agency and Deputy Creative Director Richard James says lockdown conditions provided an extra challenge for the production team.

‘Usually our TV ads takes about 10 weeks to make from start to finish but the team put this one together in only four, with everyone working from home on laptops and relying on home wifi. We obviously couldn’t get to our stores to film, so we had to guide our store colleagues on how to film themselves to get the best picture and sound quality, all while fitting around their working day. They’ve done an amazing job.’

The TV advertising is part of an integrated multi-channel campaign which includes amplification through social media, where longer videos about the customers and colleagues will be posted. All the stories will also feature on a bespoke page on Specsavers’ website.

Although Specsavers famous ‘Should’ve Gone To…’ tagline is not appearing in this campaign, Ms Whitton says, ‘Don’t fear, we’re totally committed to the line and more importantly to finding more and more interesting, immersive, collaborative and disruptive ways to use it in the future.

‘I always say at work, we don’t own ‘Should’ve’, the nation does. So, I thank it for all the fun and brilliant creativity shown over the last few weeks after a certain trip to Barnard Castle. We absolutely loved seeing and hearing all the social and media comments – it was genius!’

Media for the campaign was planned and booked by Manning Gottlieb OMD. Specsavers’ internal digital team is bolstered by social media agency Tangerine, who will optimise the advertising creative across its own channels of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. PR agency Beattie Communications will amplify the stories across traditional media.