How Specsavers defied detractors with a campaign refresh

By flipping its famous ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ tagline on its head the optical retailer improved brand perceptions and turbocharged eye test bookings.

Specsavers Health MW Awards 2023
Source: Specsavers

Specsavers might be a high street name, but in 2022 the business was facing an inconvenient truth – a third of UK optical customers rejected the brand.

Among detractors, the retailer was viewed as a ‘Poundland for specs’, while messages positioning Specsavers as a caring brand failed to resonate. However, the team saw tangible ways to demonstrate the company’s purpose via its home visit service. Rather than putting off younger consumers, the service made the rejector cohort feel like Specsavers was using its expertise wisely.

These same rejectors would often say ‘I don’t go to Specsavers…’ and give their reason why. So, the team decided to subvert this negative sentiment and flip the brand’s iconic ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ line on its head to promote the home visit offering. Cue the new line: ‘I don’t go to Specsavers. They come to me.’

Running across TV, press, outdoor, cinema, radio and digital, regional testing showed the campaign changed rejectors’ minds without alienating existing customers.

Almost 50% of rejectors felt better about Specsavers following the launch, with more than 60% of those aged 16 to 44 feeling more positive about the brand. Post-campaign, awareness of the home visits service rose from 28% to 56%, while the volume of sight tests booked by 20- to 39-year-olds increased 7.6% year on year.

Winner of the 2023 Marketing Week Award for Health and Life Sciences, Specsavers saw expertise metrics rise across all audience groups by at least eight percentage points, with consideration up four percentage points and the number of rejectors decreasing from 34% to 29%.