Specsavers: Triumph & error!

After a two-year absence, MG OMD, ITV and Channel 4 helped breathe new life into the much-loved line Should have gone to Specsavers. Our idea led to a wonderful on-screen ‘collision’ of our two channels, helping to grow eye test appointments by 13% in the first week.

A little background

There are few lines more iconic in modern advertising than “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”. So, when the brand decided to bring it back after a two-year absence and invited ITV and Channel 4 to support the launch of their latest ad using it, we knew we had a big brief on our hands.

When you’re working with something so well-known and well-loved by the public, the last thing you want to do is make a mistake. Or is it?

Our insight

The way to really get noticed on TV is to get things wrong. People love spotting and pointing out errors on the telly. Things that run like clockwork are often taken for granted, but mistakes and bloopers are shared all around the world!

The big idea

ITV and Channel 4’s continuity announcers would make an intentional mistake, live on TV. Usually the ‘reliable bit’ between the adverts and the content - our channel title cards – would appear, but our idea would see jumbled up scripts across our two channels, as we introduced the wrong shows in the wrong places.

Making it happen

Each spot took the form of our continuity announcements, and our on-screen designs took on the Specsavers brand colour palette. 

Working together to align on shows across the weekend, we each created four spots to mix some of ITV and Channel 4’s most-loved, and most-viewed shows and dayparts, giving the impression that our continuity announcers had misread the script. There were also versions for STV and Channel 4 in Scotland.

ITV announced:

  • The start of Hollyoaks and First Dates

  • The upcoming Loose Women on Channel 4

  • And the resumption of Saturday Night Takeaway on Channel 4

“Next on ITV, Chester’s most famous soap, Hollyoaks! Oh… that was definitely meant to read ‘Manchester’s most famous soap, Coronation St.’ Should’ve gone to Specsavers!”


Channel 4 announced:

  • The start and resumption of Coronation Street

  • The return to Dancing on Ice

  • And that “It’s Friday Night on ITV”

“Next on Channel 4, we’re heading back to the Rovers Return now where drama – uh – you mean Dog in the Pond? Should’ve gone to Specsavers!”

It was every announcer’s worst nightmare… the dreaded silence as they realised the errors of their ways… before remarking they should have gone to Specsavers all along.


The results

+13% Eyesight tests grew by 10% on average and by 13% in the first week

+33% The brand became even more loved, with a 33% increase in positive sentiment

+4 Across the campaign, Specsavers' awareness score jumped from 21.0 to 25.3

+2 Consideration soared from 18.2 to 20.4 during the campaign

Getting the nation to fall back in love with the iconic ‘Should’ve’ campaign was a daunting task, so we needed an idea to take our much-loved slogan to the next level. By matching the media to the mistake, we not only drove incredible levels of buzz and love for the brand, but importantly got people booking sight tests and caring for their eyes. Vicky Norman, Media Strategist, Specsavers

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