Kits enlightens consumers in its first brand campaign

The online eyecare retailer is introduces a 'glasses guru' to help consumers get over the anxiety of buying glasses online.

Vancouver’s Kits Eyecare is challenging consumers to open their eyes to its online storefront for glasses in its first-ever brand awareness campaign.

Featuring a newly created guru character, the campaign taps into the mindfulness movement in a bid to help people overcome their anxiety when shopping for glasses online.

“The objective is to put Kits on peoples’ eyes and really enlighten them to the proposition of what it has to offer. That’s how we landed on ‘Open your eyes’: it’s a reappraisal,” explains Patrick Scissons, founder and CEO of OstrichCo, which created the campaign after picking up AOR duties in September.

“The optical category is an important one for most adults in North America, but remains very opaque. If you do find a pair that works, it can take weeks to make them and longer to deliver,” added Joseph Thompson, co-founder and COO of Kits, in an e-mail. “We’re inviting customers everywhere to try Kits and see for themselves how easy it can be to shop glasses and contact lenses online.”

According to Scissons, feelings of misperception and discomfort are key challenges for Kits, as they have been for other online eyewear retailers. People struggle to trust a direct-to-consumer solution in a field they perceive to be highly “technical.”

In one spot for the campaign, titled “Fear,” those feelings are physically represented by a man who screams in terror as he is cantilevered over the side of a cliff while the guru character proselytizes the merits of shopping through Kits, including its wide range of styles, comparatively low prices and product preview function.

In addition to “Fear,” two other spots and a trio of social shorts were also shot, all in Vancouver, where Kits was founded and its optical lab is based.

Kits is one of the largest and fastest growing players in the North American digital space, Thompson says, where it does about 80% of its business in the U.S. and about 20% in Canada. The campaign will include an ad buy during the first half of the Super Bowl in Canada, which “has been a big source of growth over the past year for Kits and continues to be a growth target for us, in part because we have our headquarters and optical lab right here in Vancouver.”

In addition, he adds, the company’s CEO, Roger Hardy, brings a depth of market experience to Kits’ Canadian business as he had been the founder and CEO of Clearly Contacts from 2000 to 2014, when it was sold to Essilor.

Scissons says the humorous tone of the spots – and the other pieces of creative that comprise the campaign – helps to address the other key challenge Kits faces: heavy competition in the direct-to-consumer space.

“There’s a lot of growth, opportunity and potential, but especially in light of the pandemic, ecommerce and etail have become even more of a hotbed of activity and a lot of people are competing for attention,” he says.

The campaign takes a humorous approach in a bid to connect with Kits’ core customer base, which skews younger and female. According to Scissons, the nod to the mindfulness movement also taps into experiences that would be familiar with that demographic.

“It was important for us to communicate some of the functionality and showcase a little bit of the user experience,” he says, noting that Kits has invested heavily in that experience. “But we’re not just giving people real, rational reasons to buy glasses through Kits, we’re doing it in a way that’s putting smiles on their faces.”

With more than 100 assets featured, the film campaign was directed by Mark Gilbert and produced by Untitled Films. It follows the company’s recent IPO and is rolling out in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. with digital, social, audio and TV spots, as well as print ads.