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Technology Awards Case Studies Brand Strategy

How Specsavers brought back ‘Should’ve gone to’ with a bang

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By Awards Analyst | writer

December 6, 2022 | 6 min read

Specsavers, The Agency, MG OMD, Talon Outdoor, Grand Visual, Global Street Art, Jack Agency won at The Drum Awards for Out of Home 2022 in the Most Talked About category for Should’ve Gone to Specsavers. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful campaign.

Specsavers Should've Gone to Specsavers OOH Activation

Specsavers bring back Should've Gone to Specsavers with OOH Activation

A cultural phenomenon in the UK, Specsavers debuted its iconic phrase, “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers,” way back in 2002. After a two-year hiatus due to the Pandemic, Specsavers decided it was time to bring it back with bespoke Out of Home billboards depicting hilarious installation ‘fails.’

The brief

The brief was to create an impactful and memorable OOH campaign to help re-launch the famous 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 stop, stare, and laugh. Social amplification was also integral to the campaign, so the creative execution had to surpass previous success.

Taking the theme to new extremes, they decided to create tongue-in-cheek cowboy installations that illustrate what happens when orientation goes awry with ‘Billboard Blunder’, ‘Dodgy Install’ and ‘Lost Ladder’.

Hear what the winners had to say about their award-winning work above.

The idea

After years of comedic fails in the Should’ve Gone to Specsavers TV ads, the team decided to bring these ‘fails’ to life within the public space with the idea ‘What if the billboards appeared to have been installed by someone with bad eyesight?’

The team then created three executions and put them on display in three different locations.

‘Billboard Blunder’ is a 48-sheet poster that’s 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’ is 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 and a steaming boiler pipe above to add comedy and drama.

‘Lost Ladder’ creates the illusion that the installer has accidentally pasted the poster over their own ladder. The vinyl was carefully molded into the rungs of the ladder to create a visually pleasing effect, with the bucket and pasting brush hanging to the side.

Should've Gone to Specsavers Lost Ladder billboard campaign

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The results

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, the billboards 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 28,000 likes and over 1.5 million impressions.

The campaign earned itself a Campaign Mag ‘Pick of the Week,’ with the article quoting, "This joyous outdoor work is a reminder of some of advertising’s most important qualities: a confident brand can make people feel good in public spaces.”

The billboards have now become the immediately recognizable face of the new ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ re-launch.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Out of Home 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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