Debuting its iconic “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers” phrase back in 2002, Specsavers had no idea what a cultural phenomenon it would become in the UK. For two decades, the brand’s legendary campaign has continued to entertain audiences whilst reminding them how important optical health really is through adverts featuring the likes of Thunderbirds, Postman Pat and Gordon Ramsay.
However, when the Pandemic struck back in 2020, the brand decided to leave the wittiness for another, less sensitive time and temporarily retired the catchphrase. Whilst the brand instead, opted for contextual messaging around the situation at the time, we couldn’t help but miss our favourite phrase.
After a two-year hiatus, Specsavers decided it was time to bring back its “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers” campaign, also coinciding with its 20th anniversary.
The brief was simple, we needed to create an impactful and memorable Out of Home strategy to help re-launch the famous campaign and strapline in a way that would be loved by the public.
The challenge was to produce something unique that would grab people’s attention and make them literally stop and stare and make them laugh. The social amplification was also integral to the campaign, so the creative execution had to surpass previous success.
After years of watching hilarious ‘fails’ take place in the “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers” TV adverts, we decided to bring these ‘fails’ to life within the public space. What if the billboards appeared to have been installed by someone with bad eyesight?
After brainstorming all the hilarious ways in which the campaign could’ve been poorly installed, we eventually agreed upon three versions in three different locations:
- ‘Billboard Blunder’ a 48-sheet poster that had been installed at a 180-degree angle up the wall and billboard. A billboard was fitted to the mural wall with the backboard distressed to make it look like an authentic, existing billboard. White matt vinyl was used to create a paper effect inside the billboard, which also spread onto the wall below.
- ‘Dodgy Install’ a 48-sheet poster that had also been installed at a 180-degree angle, however this time it is now covering a drainpipe. The vinyl was also ‘pasted’ over the drainpipe to the left and a steaming boiler pipe above to create added drama and amusement.
- ‘Lost Ladder’ created the illusion that the installer has accidentally pasted the poster over their own ladder. The vinyl was carefully moulded into the rungs of the ladder to create a visually pleasing effect, with the bucket and pasting brush hanging to the side.
Truly encapsulating the meaning of “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers,” the billboards were a viral sensation. Within hours of being posted organically by the public, they picked up tens of thousands of likes and shares on social media. A post of ‘Billboard Blunder’ was shared almost instantly by a Leeds Arts University student on LinkedIn, amassing close to 25,000 likes and over 1 million impressions.
The campaign has also earned itself a Campaign Mag ‘Pick of the Week,’ with the article quoting, “Now, putting aside the question of whether eyesight alone could really have been the problem with particular posting mishaps, they brought some cheer into the Campaign offices – with editor-in-chief Gideon Spanier a particular fan.”
Matt Mint, Executive Director, MGOMD said, “A creative platform like ‘Should’ve’ is a media planners dream, and through our partnership with Specsavers and The Agency we’ve extended the concept of “Should’ve” moments into the media formats themselves, creating a simple, fun and engaging campaign that everyone can enjoy.”