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By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

March 4, 2022 | 3 min read

After temporary retirement during the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown, Specsavers has brought back famed ‘Should’ve gone...’ slogan in a £4m marketing push that it hopes will reach its biggest audience to date.

The brand last appeared on UK screens in September 2020. Faced with a nation being urged to stay at home, it replaced the ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ line with ‘Something to Smile About’.

Aside from a few tactical ads, including a much-admired Euros billboard, the brand has been largely quiet on the marketing front.

But now it’s back in a big way. After expanding its stores and services on offer, Specsavers said it is evolving the famous line into “a platform that communicates its purpose of changing lives through better sight and hearing”. This will see it run a series of TV and cinema ads over the next two months, as well as digital, social, OOH, print, radio and in-game executions, in a media blitz totaling £4m.

“’Should’ve...’ took a break during the last two years as we focused on delivering urgent care online and in the communities we serve,” said Chris Carter, marketing and e-commerce director of Specsavers UK, Ireland and Spain.

“This gave us time to take stock and develop ’Should’ve...’ into a brand platform that better reflects what we are today, but without losing any of its magic.”

The hero TV spot is set in a tower block where a delivery driver negotiates numerous flights of stairs with a large package before being told he has misread the address. In an execution for its hearing test service, meanwhile, a woman who has ordered pizza “for two hungry people” takes delivery of enough for 200.

The campaign was created in-house by The Agency, with media planned and bought by MGOMD.

A landmark deal with Channel 4 and ITV was negotiated that will see the two broadcasters have their own ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ moments as continuity announcers get their scripts mixed up, introducing some of the biggest shows on television but for the wrong channel.

And in another first, Specsavers is making a foray into gaming. Partnering with Anzu, it has planned a series of in-game OOH billboards that will feature across titles such as Tiles Hop, Final Kick, Trackmania and Cooking Diary.

The campaign also includes national press ads ‘accidentally‘ printed upside down, and OOH special builds in London and Leeds with incorrectly installed 48 sheets and one in which a billboard poster‘s ladder has been pasted over.

Richard James, creative director at The Agency, said: “The real strength of ‘Should‘ve...‘ isn’t in the joke, it’s in the friendly nudge it gives people towards better sight and hearing, while putting a smile on their face.

“Using a location populated by diverse characters and playing with the line to land new messages, we have successfully evolved it into a more holistic creative platform, reflecting different parts of the business across many different media to give it a new lease of life. It’s testament to the skill of our in-house creative teams that they’ve been able to deliver work that has so much stretch, all sprinkled with a generous helping of Specsavers’ humor.”

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