Specsavers Canada uses humour to lure new customers

Who: Specsavers Canada, with its internal agency The Agency for strategy and creative; Scoundrel for production (directed by Tim Bullock); Media Experts for media; and FleishmanHillard HighRoad for PR.

What: “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers,” the first Canadian creative to use the UK brand’s hugely popular creative approach, which first debuted in 2002.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running as TV, out-of-home, radio, digital and transit ads in British ColumbiaAlberta and Ontario.

Why: Specsavers launched in Canada last year with “That’s Specsavers Love,” but this marks the Canadian debut of “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers.”

It has been an enormously successful platform for the eye-care brand internationally for two decades—leading to dozens of ads depicting humorous scenarios that could have been avoided with proper vision. The brand says that its lighthearted approach to marketing has been an “effective tool” in improving eye health by keeping vision care top of mind.

How: The new campaign is anchored by a 30-second hero spot showing a father and son fishing in a remote wilderness location when the panicked son asks his father if he’s seen the boat keys.

“Nope,” says the father, as the perspective changes to the father’s fishing line, where viewers see that he’s mistakenly affixed the keys—which are now slowly sinking to the bottom—rather than a fishing lure. As the son finds the lure and realizes what’s happened, the father contentedly says “I could stay out here forever.”

“These spots called for sophistication in the execution by tonally and visually maintaining a level of restraint,” said The Agency’s creative director, Richard James. “Nothing in the filmmaking overtly alludes to comedy—we approach the comedy in an underplayed manner through authentic settings and characters, effortless performances and observed cinematic style.”

According to Specsavers, the campaign will revolve around ads telling stories “of vision-related mishaps in various outdoor adventures” against a backdrop of picturesque landscapes and using the brand’s signature approach of presenting the implausible as entirely plausible.

And we quote: “With the successful establishment of Specsavers in Canada, this new generation of marketing aims to delight audiences and inspire Canadians to be as excited about eye health as we are. The strength of ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ is the gentle reminder it gives Canadians of all ages to look after their eye health while also making them smile.” — Catherine Walsh, director of marketing, Specsavers Canada

Chris Powell