Routine eye tests save lives and sight, yet many people are unaware that they can detect signs of various health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure as well as eye health conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. In extreme cases routine eye tests have even led to the detection of more serious life threatening conditions such as tumours.
A champion of the nation’s eye health, this lack of awareness was something that our client, Specsavers, had long recognised and was committed to changing – for good.
Working in partnership with Specsavers in-house PR and marketing teams we came up with a fully-integrated long term strategy to help transform the nation’s eye health by raising awareness and through education to change attitudes and behaviours.
In joining forces with sight loss charity RNIB as our main campaign partner, we knew we first had to help the nation understand the risks associated with ignoring their eye health. RNIB were commissioned to conduct a wide-reaching independent research programme, backed by an extensive YouGov regional poll, to assess the real state of the nation’s eye health.
The shocking results came together in a report presented by RNIB and Specsavers – State of the Nation: Eye Health, to reveal the true and worrying picture. More than six million people in the UK were found to be living sight threatening conditions or uncorrected refractive error. Although nearly half of all cases of sight loss in the UK could have been prevented, a shocking 14m people were found not to be having an eye test every two years as recommend. To add insult to injury, the cost of sight loss to the UK economy had spiralled to £28bn a year - £6bn more than when it had previously been measured.
We were now armed with the facts to allow us to make as much noise as possible. We staged a launch of the report at the House of Lords ahead of National Eye Health Week, attended by leading figures from the optical, healthcare and charitable sectors, as well as key figures from the press and media.
In recruiting Lady Penny Lancaster Stewart as campaign ambassador, who had personal family experience of eye health issues as had her husband Rod, we were able to attract further attention to the campaign, with them both attending the launch event and Penny fronting an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain to communicate the importance of regular eye tests, especially for children.
Using real case studies where Specsavers opticians had saved sight and lives we were able to illustrate the very real threat of ignoring eye health through a series of national and regional TV, radio and press interviews and features. Specsavers clinical experts and opticians were featured throughout.
Specsavers put its money where its mouth is, running a multi-million pound multi-media campaign to complete the 360 approach, involving RNIB and other charity partners including the International Glaucoma Association and Diabetes UK.
A co-branded Specsavers and RNIB Eyepod has toured over 1,000 miles and 11 cities across the country. A passing footfall of more than 187,800 people had the opportunity to see the impact of eye conditions through this experiential activity which will continue throughout 2018.
The campaign is ongoing, the research continues to be updated and extended and our work with eye health champions, including celebrities like TV veteran Ann Robinson, continues to extend our reach and perpetuate our messaging.
Ongoing widespread national and regional broadcast, print and online coverage has been achieved on outlets such as Good Morning Britain, BBC and BBC Ulster and in titles including The Daily Telegraph, Times, Mail on Sunday, Press Association, Netdoctor, The Daily Express, The Sun, The Independent, The Huffington Post, Hello, OK! and Yours.
A 2017 YouGov poll suggests that, in the year since RNIB and Specsavers joined forces to help transform the nation’s eye health, an additional 1.1 million people have taken action to improve their eye health by visiting an optician.
During National Eye Health month 2016, there were record downloads of free sight test vouchers from Specsavers online, and it was the highest month for redemptions of all vouchers across channels.