Specsavers blacks MSN page for a day

Specsavers, the UK optician chain, is to black out the entire MSN homepage as part of a one-day exclusive advertising takeover deal for an undisclosed sum.

Apparently, MSN has not previously allowed an ad to cover editorial content in this way. MSN is calling it a “page altering” event.

Next Monday, visitors to the MSN homepage will initially see a blacked-out screen with a single light switch that turns on a spotlight, which illuminates Specsavers’ marketing message.

Users will only see the darkened homepage the first time they visit, and there will be a clear “close” button.

The campaign is designed to back the Specsavers Clear Price drive that focuses on the total price consumers have to pay for their glasses (rather than offering myriad options), including different lenses and frames, which impact on price.

Launched in 1984, Specsavers has a 33 per cent share of the UK optical market, three times that of its nearest competitor, according to figures from Gfk.

The deal was created and brokered by digital agency i-level. MSN has guaranteed a minimum number of ad impressions on the day. The advertising will be followed by banner ads and targeted activity on MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail, running for two weeks.

MSN is the UK’s largest portal, with over 15.5 million visitors a month in the UK (Nielsen/NetRatings July 2005) and more than 420 million unique users world- wide (MSN internal data).

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