As I was on my way back home on the train, I heard a child giggling and quickly looked up from my phone and this cute girl of 6 years was laughing at something that her mum was reading to her. With a quick glance I saw that the little girl was holding a bright blue book and reading Penny the Pirate ®. The giggles were followed by outbursts of “Yay Penny!.” I left the train that evening terribly missing my mum!
And so that evening, Penny the Pirate® led me on a pursuit for more information as it captivated me with the distinctively colorful cover and the emotion attached to it.
SO WHO IS PENNY THE PIRATE?
Penny the Pirate® is a storybook that helps to screen a child’s vision as a parent/carer reads to them.
This storybook has taken clinical eye tests and turned them into an illustrated children’s book to help parents get a better understanding of their child’s eye health. This is now available as a book and an app, and is the first medical tool that helps mums at home tests their children’s vision as they read them a story anywhere in Australia. Results can be checked online and if needed they could book an OPSM eye test immediately.
CREATIVE INNOVATIVE MARKETING
So what was the idea behind Penny the Pirate?
Recognizing the absence of a standard eye screening process for children, the Australian eye care provider OPSM started from scratch and brought the University of Melbourne together with celebrated children’s illustrator and author Kevin Waldrin, to bring about the storybook Penny the Pirate®.
Penny the Pirate®qualifies as an innovation within the optometric industry as it is the first children’s storybook and application that doubles as a medical examination tool to monitor children’s visual health.
OPSM discovered from research that optometric appointments in children had declined by almost half.
- Research suggested that many parents considered taking their children to optometrists for eye examinations to be a hassle.
- This is despite the fact that eye care appointments are a free government incentive for children in Australia rendering this service ineffective. Surprising eh?
OPSM recognized the need for a campaign that would reinforce the children’s eye health as a priority.
So did OPSM hit the jackpot by choosing reading over other methods of examining children’s eyes?
OPSM determined that the best method of screening vision was to incorporate eye tests into family homes and everyday activities.
It identified “reading” as an enjoyable family activity that is already associated with vision.
Consequently they innovated by combining these two ideas into an enjoyable yet discrete method of examining children’s eyes namely, Penny the Pirate®.
Research conducted by Porter (1996) described three alternative strategies via which companies tend to dominate-
OPSM® excelled with Penny the Pirate® as it had a good starting point- differentiation and uniqueness. They concentrated on their “niche market” which was children under the age of 10 years and by doing one thing exceptionally well, i.e., innovative marketing, thereby hitting the elusive jackpot!
1 in 6 children experience eye health issues at some stage of their childhood and over one quarter of parents admitted to not having their children’s eyes tested.
These findings resonated with OPSM® as their products offered a high quality and a better price than those of their competitors such as Spectators®, thus demonstrating overall cost leadership.
- Saatchi & Saatchi (the advertising agency) used an influencer strategy to generate excitement, conversation and comprehension among young Australians and parents.
- It behaved like a book publisher and partnered with a network of bloggers and Australian schools to test the book.
- Mums also tested the book and the app prior to its launch through the “Mouth of Mums” network on Yahoo7.
Penny the Pirate® was digitally marketed via social, display and performance ads online across various sites that extended the reach and drove online traffic higher with OPSM® online.
The campaign continued to gain momentum through the school holiday period, amplified by a TV investment, in-store displays and cinema activity to connect with parents and children during periods where they knew they had time to book appointments.
OPSM® intended for Penny the Pirate® to be a low involvement decision for consumers with fewer strings and obligations attached to the product. However, it also doubled as a method of improving OPSM®’s brand awareness within their previous and potential consumers as it demonstrated OPSM®’s concentrated desire to improve children’s eye health.
SO DID IT WORK?
The WARC 100 case study (2016) showed that eye examinations and eye wear sales of OPSM® increased in the preliminary phase by 28 and 23% respectively, both of which exceeded the initial targets of OPSM® which was 10%.
So what has Penny the Pirate hijacked till now?
According to OPSM®, Penny is on track to give 300,000 children an eye test which is already seen an 188% increase in kids’ eye-wear sales since launch!
By shining a spotlight on children’s eye health, OPSM® was able to capitalize on this concept to offer value propositions to its consumers, and have invariably gained the top spot for a health app in the app store.
Penny the Pirate® made kids’ eye tests fun and most importantly kids are getting an eye test without even realizing it!!
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