Eye care companies tap into social media, events for awareness push

NEW YORK: The Think about Your Eyes Coalition, which is funded by three eye care companies, launched a two-year campaign to raise awareness about eye health.

NEW YORK: The Think about Your Eyes Coalition, which is funded by three eye care companies, launched a two-year campaign to raise awareness about eye health.

Essilor, Luxottica Group, and VSP Global formed the coalition in late 2009 and have plans to turn over the unbranded awareness program to the Foundation for Eye Health Awareness in 2012, said Kristan Zeilan, communications manager for the coalition and corporate communications manager at Essilor.

The goal is to encourage people to have annual eye exams and better understand vision and how children's vision relates to academic performance. Essilor piloted the program in Tarrant County, TX, and saw a 7% increase in eye exams and a 9% increase in new patients.

“We did show that there was a significant change in people seeing their eye doctor and actually having those exams,” said Zeilan.

Weber Shandwick, which handles trade PR for Essilor, and Jack Morton are working on the campaign. Budget is $500,000.

The coalition kicked off the campaign May 25 with a “flash mob” in New York's Times Square with 90 dancers. Videos and images from the event are included on the campaign's website, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube pages.

“One of the biggest goals is driving traffic to the website,” said Anne Tramer, SVP for Weber Shandwick. The website includes information about eye care and eye disease along with an eye doctor finder tool.

The firm is creating what Tramer calls “tongue-in-cheek video vignettes” from the Times Square event for the social media channels. Another event is planned for Chicago in July, with plans for the campaign to travel to the West Coast by the end of 2010. The coalition is also preparing back-to-school messaging for the fall.

Other target cities include Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Cincinnati, and Portland, OR

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