20 years since it first appeared, Specsavers has unveiled a new ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ campaign: ‘Should’ve 2.0’. Breaking on the 4th of March, the £4m campaign aims to reach a broader audience than ever before, evolving the famous line into a platform that communicates its purpose of changing lives through better sight and hearing, and can spotlight a growing range of services.

One of advertising’s most enduring, effective, and popular campaigns, ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ has firmly established itself in British culture over the past two decades. It regularly crops up in everyday conversation, in the media and even in Parliament, while the brand continues to deftly leverage it on social media, keeping it part of the national conversation with its trademark warmth and wit.

But as the business continues to evolve in line with its purpose, so too is its most famous campaign. Since ‘Should’ve’ was created, there are now twice as many stores in the UK and Ireland (950), the brand has a presence across the world, and offers much more than good value glasses including audiology services, home visits for the vulnerable, and the latest technology, making it one of the most advanced and comprehensive ear and eye care providers in the market.

Should've took a break during the last two years as we focused on delivering urgent care online and in the communities we serve. This gave us time to take stock and develop Should've into a brand platform that better reflects who we are today, but without losing any of its magic. I think the Agency has achieved this brilliantly, showing how it can take us into the future as we continue to grow and meet customers’ needs wherever they are. Chris Carter, marketing and ecommerce director of Specsavers UK, Ireland and Spain.

As a brand for everyone, the new campaign will reach a broader audience through a wider range of media than ever before, encompassing TV, cinema, digital, social, OOH, print, radio and in-game executions, including some exciting media firsts. It was created in-house by The Agency, with media planned and bought by MGOMD, and will run throughout March and April.

At its heart is a 30” TV spot, supported by 4 x 10/15” shorts for YouTube, set in the diverse community of a tower block. A delivery driver arrives to find the lifts broken. Accompanied by 80s feel-good anthem, ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’ by The Proclaimers, he hauls his huge package up to the very top, only to be told: ‘This says block 2. It’s over there mate.’

Our poor-sighted hero also features in the shorts, in a variety of comic scenarios, including mistaking an ambulance for his van, while Specsavers’ audiology service has its first Should’ve outing, when one of the block residents gets an unexpectedly large pizza delivery: ‘I said enough for two hungry people’, she tells them. The spots were directed by Friend London’s Ric Cantor, an award-winning comedy writer and director whose credits include Mastercard, McDonald's, Virgin, Pepsi and Da Ali G Show, who with his trademark flair for comedy timing, storytelling and character, was the ideal person to bring a fresh perspective to ‘Should've’.

In a media first, Channel 4 and ITV will be having their own ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ moments as their continuity announcers get their scripts mixed up, introducing some of the biggest shows on television, but for the wrong channel.  Mix-ups will occur throughout launch weekend across multiple programmes including Coronation Street, This Morning, Hollyoaks and First Dates.  This is the first time Channel 4 and ITV have worked together in this way with an advertiser.

To reach new audiences, including millions of younger people and light TV viewers, Specsavers is making its first foray into gaming. Partnering with Anzu, Specsavers will bring the real world into its immersive environments, with in-game ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ OOH billboards. They will feature across multiple genres from Sports and Motorbiking to Fashion and Lifestyle, and in popular titles such as Tiles Hop, Final Kick, Trackmania and Cooking Diary.

The brand will continue to embrace the public’s love of the campaign on social media, inviting people to join in with the joke and share their personal Should’ve moments on Twitter. But with research proving the line is so well known the brand has permission to play with it, OOH will start to also introduce new lines, such as “We thought you should know” and “Go on, you know you should”.

Should’ve’s real strength isn’t in the joke, it’s in the friendly nudge it gives people towards better sight and hearing, while putting a smile on their face. Using a location populated by diverse characters, and playing with the line to land new messages, we have successfully evolved it into a more holistic creative platform, reflecting different parts of the business across many different media to give it a new lease of life. It’s testament to the skill of our in-house creative teams that they’ve been able to deliver work that has so much stretch, all sprinkled with a generous helping of Specsavers humour. Richard James, Creative Director at The Agency

The campaign also includes national press ads 'accidentally' printed upside down, and OOH special builds in London and Leeds with incorrectly installed 48 sheets and one in which a billboard poster's ladder has been pasted over.


Project: Should’ve 2.0 

Titles:  “Out of Order” 30”, “Wrong Van” 10, “Wrong Cupboard” 10”, “Push me pull me” 10 sec, “Pizza’ 15” 

Client: Chris Carter, marketing and ecommerce director UK, Ireland and Spain, Victoria Clarke, head of marketing activation, Nick Rainbow, head of marketing strategy and insight, Aimee Legge, marketing strategist, Elaina Le Tissier, recruitment marketing lead 

Airdate: 4 March 2022 

Creative Agency:  The Agency, Specsavers  

Client Partner:  Rhiannon Hughes; Jade Fonteneau 

Managing Director, The Agency:  Nicola Wardell 

Creative Director:  Richard James 

Creatives:  Neil Brush, Simon Bougourd, Geoff Alderman, Michael McCallum, Andrea Raanaas, Bertie Rapkin, Jon Morgan. 

Creative Strategist: Pollyanna Evelegh 

Agency Producer:  Sam Lock 

Agency Senior Integrated Producer: Clair Carter 

Agency Junior Producer: Phoebe Hazzan 

Media Company: Manning Gottlieb OMD 

Prod Co:  Friend London 

Director:  Ric Cantor 

Producer:  Camilla Cullen  

DOP:  Benedict Spence 

Editor:  Quin Williams @ tenthree 

Music Supervision:  Theodore 

Audio Post-Production: Bubble TV 

Post-Production:  Grade at Cheat, VFX and finishing at Bubble TV 

Outdoor: Talon Outdoor 

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