In response to a growing concern that New Zealanders aren't taking preventative measures to look after their eye health, Specsavers has launched a new 'Priceless Eyes' campaign via Australian agency Cummins&Partners.
The campaign sees Specsavers masquerading as Vesper-Sacs, an advanced medical research company, asking test subjects: 'how much would you sell your eyes for?' All the people questioned in the ad were unanimous, they wouldn't give up their sight for any amount of money – eyes are priceless.
The stunt was filmed in a custom-build high-tech facility in an office tower, and Specsavers went to great lengths to make the space look genuine for the test subjects. Staff, a company backstory, brochures, a corporate video and even stationery were all included to make Vesper-Sacs look legitimate.
Specsavers marketing director Sarah McInnes says the company created the campaign to raise awareness for the importance of eye care.
"No one should suffer from avoidable vision loss and blindness in New Zealand, by they are. We knew that if we were going to be successful in getting people to stop and really think about their eyes, we needed to create something really powerful and meaningful."
With only one in six New Zealanders visiting an optometrist to get their eyes tested within a year, eye health is not on most people's radar.
"Specsavers is committed to shaking Kiwis out of their 'she'll be right' attitude by driving behavioural change when it comes to eye health. With many treatable eye conditions having no obvious symptoms, we recommend everyone over 65 has an eye health check yearly, and under 65s every two years," she says.
One participant described the experience as like being in an episode of Black Mirror.
Cummins&Partners creative director Chris Ellis says the team started with the human truth that people wouldn't trade their eyes for anything and built the idea from there.
"We then put it to the test in a real scenario. The result is genuine emotion from everyday people when confronted with the prospect of a world without vision."
The campaign was launched on 9 September across TV, online, social media and print.
Not all viewers have seen the advertisement as harmless, however. A number of people have commented that the ad is disrespectful to people who are blind or have low vision, by promoting the idea they cannot live a fulfilling life without vision. What do you think?
Marketing Director ANZ: Sarah McInnes
Optometry Director ANZ: Peter Larsen
Head of Optometry ANZ: Ben Ashby
Marketing Manager: Nick Oswald
Senior Campaign Manager: Lisa Otterburn
Head of Public Relations ANZ: Cathy Rennie Matos
Agency: Cummins& Partners
Creative Director: Chris Ellis
Creative Director/Art Director: Heath Collins
Senior Copywriter: Liam Jenkins
Executive Producer: Karley Cameron
Group Account Director: Marnie McKenzie
Strategy Director: Melissa Warren
Account Manager: Dominique Grainger
Project Manager: Karina Baird
Chief Creative Officer: Sean Cummins
CEO: Chris Jeffares
Director: Aaron Wilson
Producer: Selin Yaman
DOP: Ed Goldner
Production Designer: Jackson Dickie
Editors: Cindy Clarkson, Meng Han
Managing Partner: Adrian Bosich
Executive Producer: Martin Box
Engineer: Paul Le Couteur
Producer: Ceri Davies