Cannes Lions

The Urban Eye Test


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Almost 2 million people in the UK are living with some form of sight loss. For over half of these, a simple sight test would help. A routine eye test with an optician can also help in identifying other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

A study by the UK College of Optometrists found that while over half of UK adults view eye tests as “very important” to their health, actions don’t back that up: 1 in 4 people in the UK haven’t been for an eye test in the last 2 years, and 5 million haven’t been for an eye test in the last 10 years, or are unsure when they last had one at all. That’s over 13 million UK adults who are at risk.

The reality is that whilst we believe eye health is important to us, we don’t do anything about it.


We test our eyes every day, but we put off put off dealing with it. We wanted to change this and disrupt the audience to take action.

During Oct 2018, twelve coded floor panels were placed on streets and sidewalks around Central London, encouraging Londoners to check their eyesight using the urban environment around them.

Each site was assessed by an optometrist, and we used pub signs, shop signs, clock towers, road signs & murals, challenging the public to read them.

If they had any difficulty, a QR code enabled them to book a free eye test at OCO Opticians via their smartphone.

We placed the floor panels in high footfall locations and tailored the 'challenge' on each panel with something locally relevant.


When analyzing the booking system at OCO, we uncovered that despite having a team ready to test up to 24 patients per day, eye tests were at less than 50% capacity. OCO’s challenge was to persuade their audience of affluent ABC1 25-34yr olds to visit to the store and take eye tests, but previous offline & targeted Facebook campaigns had very little effect.

Most leading high street opticians in the UK promote discount eye tests to drive footfall into store. With enough traditional media spend behind it, it can sometimes be effective. But for OCO, competing with the vast ad budgets of the multiples wasn’t an option - they needed advertising that targeted people at the exact time they were thinking about getting their eyes tested so they couldn’t put it off and 'soldier on' with poor eyesight. We wanted to disrupt people to take immediate action.


Twelve trackable floor panels were placed on streets and sidewalks around Central London. Each panel set an individual challenge e.g. ‘Can you tell the exact time on the church clock from here?’ ‘Can you read the words on the pillar?’ ‘Which year was the pub built?’

If the test exposed short or long-sightedness, a unique QR code tagged to each location enabled people to book an eye test via their smartphone, providing individual response data for each location in realtime.

At 1200 x 800 mm, each panel was checked by an optometrist using the Snellen Visual Acuity scale, with a QR code 150-180mm wide, based on use of a smartphone camera from 1500 mm away

The panels were made from AlumiGraphics, designed for all weather conditions, utilizing vivid colours for high contrast against grey sidewalk/city environment.


During the first two weeks of the activity, eye test bookings at OCO were 12x the weekly average, generating a 94% uplift from the same period in the year before.

The campaign performed 3x better than any previous advertising, with 1 in 2 people who tried the floor panels going on to book a test.

Across the campaign, the store received was 12x the footfall from the same period in October 2017, and the opening day of the activity led to the highest recorded day of sales since the store opened.