StrategyBrand awareness“Should’ve gone” to “I don’t go”: Specsavers’ twist on its famous tagline

“Should’ve gone” to “I don’t go”: Specsavers' twist on its famous tagline

“Starting with the subverted tagline gets people to stop and look. Everyone knows our usual tagline, and this message completely cuts through that. But ultimately, it goes on to reveal the joke and like all Specsavers adverts, should leave you with a warm feeling.”

‘Finger Lickin Good.’ ‘Just Do It.’ ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers…’ The power of a well-known tagline cannot be underestimated. Capturing awareness and association with your brand in a few short words evokes familiarity and fondness in equal measure.

But when you’ve been using the same tagline for twenty years, like the optical and audiology retailer Specsavers, spinning such an iconic campaign in other ways to shine a light on new services and products can be complex, particularly when your customers love your message.

To boost awareness of its home visits service, Specsavers launched “I don’t go…” in a playful twist on its well-known ‘Should’ve’ tagline.

Victoria Simpson-Clarke, Marketing Services Director, Specsavers, gives us a 20/20 look at the strategy behind this tagline twist.

A twist on the “Should’ve gone…” tagline

Former Specsavers Creative Director Graham Daldry introduced the “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” tagline two decades ago in 2002. Since then, it has been featured in countless iterations, from viral social media content to campaigns involving Channel 4 and ITV. “Originally, the line was quite serious,” explained Simpson-Clarke, “but as time has passed, we hit on the idea of turning it into a gag. It’s grown beyond our wildest expectations from there.”

By eventually landing on the self-deprecating tone that often defines British humor, it has consistently resonated with its audience and become one of the country’s most beloved brand campaigns. So why spin this tagline with a new message?

The “I don’t go…” campaign began with the realization that there was a complete lack of awareness for Specsavers’ home visits service. “People don’t know that we’re more than just a shopfront on the high street,” stated Simpson-Clarke. “We go into people’s homes who can’t get into the store and offer them the service they need.”

“We wanted to drive awareness of that specific product segment. So, we wanted something that cuts through to stand apart from our other messaging. “I don’t go…” does that because it’s shocking. It goes against our tagline, but by the end of the advert, the viewer gets the revelation. It’s because we go to them with this service.”

Although the “I don’t go…” message still relies on the self-deprecating brand of humor, there are still the same rules of the road that Specsavers has always adhered to. Specsavers use their tagline to poke fun, but never in a derogatory way or that victimizes anybody. “It’s often where the hero is off-screen, so they’re laughing at the consequences rather than the person,” Simpson-Clarke explained.

Tagline twists: It’s a team effort

Every marketing team should be working to improve cross-collaboration with different departments and agencies, be that product, sales, finance, customer service, or agency partners. Indeed, the “I don’t go…” campaign owes much of its hard-earned success to its agency partnerships and its product team.

In-house agency support

Specsavers’ creative agency which was integral to this campaign. It drew on specialist insights across its different agency partners, from media to social media to PR. Although it was changing the tagline, it kept its approach to creative strategy consistent with its proven best practices.

“The process our in-house creative agency follows, irrespective of the business area, is to start with insight from our customers. We tested across our optics and home visit customers to understand their thoughts on our home visit service. We learned two things.”

“Firstly, a huge proportion of our Optics consumer base was surprised we offered home visits. Secondly, with our home visits customers themselves, they told us we should be shouting about our service and that they felt it was remarkable.”

Specsavers is also targeting growth in its home visits business. Tying this goal to its customer insights led Specsavers to realize it had to focus specifically on improving awareness of home visits.

Specsavers’ in-house agency tested different creative propositions across its external media agency partners, research panels, and social media and PR agencies. This experience has helped Specsavers redefine its outlook toward broadcast communications.

“We can now see the value of communicating the full 360-degree view of our services, including what we do in general optics and audiology. Yes, we need to find fresh ways to play with our messaging, as we did with “I don’t go…,” but by working on PR, social media, and digital targeting, we can shine a much better light on all Specsavers has to offer.”

Cross-team collaboration

Creating this campaign and refreshing the Specsavers tagline for home visits meant working closely with the product team.

“Before the campaign began, we did a massive amount of work with our product team. The home visits service is a well-oiled machine, but we also wanted to make sure they were prepared for a big uptake in demand for the service!”

Firstly, the marketing team ran demand forecasting with the product team. Secondly, knowledge-sharing ensured the ins and outs of the service were explicitly clear. This meant Specsavers could give the customers all the information they needed during targeting, retargeting, or once they had booked so they were prepared for the appointment. Thirdly, the two divisions worked closely on the in-flight activity for the campaign.

“We had to work together to understand how the new campaign impacted home visits. Have we got enough clinics open? Have we got enough appointments available for people to book? What parts of our service can we improve on the fly based on the feedback we have been getting?”

This solid collaboration between marketing and product ensured the new tagline was working and confirmed product team was ready to deal with the positive consequences.

Managing two target audience categories

The latest twist on Specsavers’ tagline targeted two different audience types. Firstly, the end user – the recipient of the home visit. Secondly, the influencers of that end user – the caregivers who may be responsible for the end user.

"I don't go": Image with Specsavers' latest tagline twist
Specsavers’ tagline twist, Credit: Specsavers

To reach both audience groups, Specsavers delivered the new “I don’t go…” tagline across numerous channels, including TV, print, out-of-home (OOH), radio, cinema, and digital display.

“This mix allowed us to be very targeted to both groups of audience members. Specifically for the influencer who represents a slightly younger demographic, we would target social media. Not only are they more present on these platforms, but the longer form element of social media allows you to tell the story in more detail.”

While Specsavers kept the “I don’t go…” tagline consistent, it also changed the messaging around the tagline. On social media platforms where longer form content is possible, Specsavers could run with testimonials of people who have consumed the home visit service. On shorter-form channels like out-of-home, content revolved around shorter snippets of information.

“The creative messaging varied a little bit as well. So, we might focus a little more on the ins and outs of the service for the end user but focus a little more on the emotive message for the influencer.”

“Regardless, we would back it up with lots of retargeting. For instance, if someone read about home visits on our website, we would retarget them with further messaging depending on the content they had already consumed.”

Measuring the impact of the new tagline

Awareness is vital when introducing a new product or service to your product line. Or in the case of Specsavers, when promoting a service that has flown under the radar. For Specsavers, this meant targeting awareness of the home visit service itself. Any boost to brand awareness or brand warmth for the Specsavers brand was a very welcome by-product. Brand warmth was particularly relevant for the general optics customer or influencer, as opposed to the home visits user targeted with more functional messaging. Specsavers measure these KPIs by recording brand warmth pre-exposure and post-exposure.

"I don't go": Image with Specsavers' latest tagline twist
Specsavers’ tagline twist, Credit: Specsavers

Another core indicator of success is the number of home visits. “For lack of a better phrase, we want to measure bums on seats,” Simpson-Clarke stated. “We have had a real spike in the number of home visit appointments booked, even though it’s still early days.”

Lastly, Specsavers has recorded positive qualitative feedback for this campaign and the service itself.

“I think the service itself is good. And I think highlighting the service is quite a surprise for people who are surprised we offer a service that does this. We’ve even had people tell us, ‘I know someone who would benefit from it.’”

The new tagline stays true to Specsavers’ brand voice by including wit, warmth, and humor. Rather than promoting the new service right away, it leans into the sassy sense of humor that has defined Specsavers’ communications over the past twenty years.

“Starting with the subverted tagline gets people to stop and look. Everyone knows our usual tagline, and this message completely cuts through that. But ultimately, it goes on to reveal the joke and like all Specsavers adverts, should leave you with a warm feeling.”

A long-sighted look at the tagline’s future

The process of building the “I don’t go…” campaign refreshed Specsavers’ approach to its tagline and accompanying messaging. Tuning in to customer insights showed the importance of customer-led campaigns that give a fresh spark to the “Should’ve…” tagline. Looking ahead, Specsavers plan to create more audience-led messaging.

“We want to give more influence to the public. We’re already starting to do this. In some of the recent social media videos we’ve done, we’ve invited people to star in their own “Should’ve…” ad. We noticed people were sharing stories about the “Should’ve…” moments in their lives.”

“Giving people the chance to share their story under our famous tagline is a brilliant way for us to tap into the brand love and awareness we have built over the years. Seeing our customers in their ads has been brilliant!”

User-generated content will play a core role in the upcoming iterations of Specsavers’ digital and OOH campaigns. And as for brands that cannot see the importance of keeping your tagline refreshed and the impact of user-generated content? Well, they should go to…

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