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This is a self-funded case study using our Ad Testing solution.
First launched in the UK 20 years ago, “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” is an enduring campaign platform, comfortably sitting amongst other greats like “Just Do It”, “You’re not you when you’re hungry”, and “Have a Break”. The brand recently debuted its newest campaign installment in the UK, utilizing video and OOH to promote the brand’s growing portfolio of services (including audiology).
It’s refreshing to see a brand unwavering in their commitment to a campaign idea rather than consistently looking to do something new, which often comes as a result of “marketer fatigue” or new front-office personnel looking to make their mark. However, 20 years is a long time, and past success isn’t any guarantee of future performance (as the old saying goes) — which means brands risk going stale and irrelevant if a campaign starts running out of puff. To be a truly enduring campaign over the long-term, a balance needs to be struck between freshness and consistency.
To find out whether the latest installment of “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” still achieves this delicate balance, we put it to the test using our 3Cs framework.
People were excited about the campaign’s return to the big screen, finding humor in the scenarios the main character found himself in by not going to Specsavers — creating a sense of fun and playfulness around his misfortune. The utilization of short, accessible humor was distinctive enough to get attention, but also easy-to-understand — evoking near-universal happiness. For many, the return of such a popular campaign and cultural cornerstone tapped into a sense of nostalgia and warmth.
Unsurprisingly, given the campaign’s unwavering consistency over the years, it was hard to confuse the ad being for anyone other than Specsavers. And, while the narrative was — at first — quite removed from the optometry and audiology category, the brand played an integral role in the plot. This was thanks to the narrative structure centering around the familiar theme of what the main character should have done, while being brought to life in Specsavers’ typically tongue-in-cheek way.
In addition to conveying that the brand is fun and approachable, the campaign also served to remind people of Specsavers’ ubiquity and expertise. New to the series was a scenario featuring a hearing mix-up, with a pizza order for “2 hungry people” being comically misunderstood. The brand’s extension into an adjacent category (audiology) was clear and credible, with the consistently humorous portrayal of what could happen with either poor hearing or poor eyesight retaining the light-hearted tone synonymous with the brand — subsequently building favorability and predisposition for Specsavers.
While it’s true that businesses must continually evolve just to maintain their position as the rest of the category innovates, this must be balanced with established theory around how brands are built — which tells us that consistency is one of the cornerstones of long-term success.
“Fresh Consistency” is what we believe all brands should aim for, and to understand what this looks like and how brands can go about achieving it, they should look no further than “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”. Beginning with a powerful human truth provides brands with a much better chance of landing on a campaign idea with the potential for longevity, and from there a marketers’ task becomes much easier — delivering new campaign installments which provide a fresh and updated twist on an established theme.
This strategy has seen Specsavers remain at the top of their game for two decades — the perfect demonstration of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.