Unfortunately, most people don’t think about automotive lighting until a bulb burns out. Unlike oil changes and wiper blades, headlights aren’t seen as part of a routine maintenance checklist. Yet research shows drivers could lose up to 50 feet of visibility before headlight burnout, endangering their safety and the safety of others on the road. And in the United States, half of driver fatalities and more than 70% of all pedestrian deaths occur during dark driving times.
We needed a transformational idea that changed the way drivers think about their headlights. So, we compared them to something more familiar: eyes. After all, headlights are the “eyes” of a car. They help drivers see the road ahead—and just like eyes, they require routine maintenance to ensure optimal visibility.
To bring this comparison to life, we developed the EYECARE by SYLVANIA exam, a simple demonstration of headlight brightness that helps drivers see the difference between their old bulbs and a new set of SYLVANIA bulbs. The two-pronged campaign began with an in-person installation outside Las Vegas featuring the world’s first automotive phoropter (a device used by optometrists). The event took place at the same time as the tech conference C.E.S. during one of the darkest weeks of the year. We invited locals and conference attendees to our pop-up outside the city to receive a free evaluation of their headlights in a controlled dark environment. After the exam, our automotive professionals provided hands-on instruction for how drivers can change their headlights themselves.
We also made an at-home version of the exam available for consumers nationwide, driven by a bespoke, targeted mailer filled with items to help improve your visibility on the road. The at-home kit included a free set of SYLVANIA’s top-of-the-line bulbs, a headlight restoration kit, protective eyewear, a microfiber lens cleaner, and more.
By drawing comparisons to a routine consumers know well—eye exams—we helped increase top-of-mind awareness for our brand while also establishing SYLVANIA as an innovator in the automotive space. Our EYECARE by SYLVANIA exam activation garnered more than 34 million earned media impressions across 323 placements.