Optical Revolution hires Immediate Sales for ads

Optical Revolution, the budget spectacle retailer, has appointed M&C Saatchi's Immediate Sales Company to handle its advertising business as it attempts to take on established high street opticians.

Immediate Sales won the account following a four-way pitch through the AAR (Marketing, November 21) against Wieden & Kennedy, Walsh Trott Chick Smith and Doner Cardwell Hawkins.

Optical Revolution intends to revolutionise the spectacles market with the proposition that consumers have their eyes tested at an optician, but then go to the retailer to purchase cut-price lenses and designer frames. The absence of in-store optometrists and the low mark-up on lenses enables the retailer to provide frames at a cheaper price.

The company's founder, Michael Kraftman, has said he wants an agency to create a "big idea" to communicate the Optical Revolution offer, which will compete with opticians such as Specsavers and Vision Express.

"We aim to do to this industry what the budget carriers did to the airline sector," he said.

Optical Revolution currently has one UK store located in Colchester, Essex. Kraftman intends to open stores in Norwich and East Anglia early next year, with plans to eventually open up to 200 shops.

Kraftman, who was marketing director of electrical retailer Tempo between 1992 and 1999 and most recently its deputy chairman, announced in September 2001 that he was to launch Optical Revolution, with money raised from the £130m management buyout of Tempo the previous year. His founding partners include Mike Nutall, former sales director of mobile phone chain Phones4U.

The launch comes as a Mintel report shows opticians have seen a small decline in share recently as a result of other retailers' growing presence in the market. UK opticians' market share fell from 92% in 2000 to 90.9% in 2002, compared with supermarkets, which enjoyed a 1.1% rise to 3.1%.


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