Eyewear Company Launches #WHOBLINKEDFIRST Campaign for World Sight Day

Eyewear Company Launches #WHOBLINKEDFIRST Campaign for World Sight Day
By Braden Hoeppner


October 9th was World Sight Day. In an attempt to raise awareness that approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness, Coastal.com in partnership with Change the View launched the world’s first staring contest.

After seeing the success of the recent ALS Ice Bucket challenge, we saw an opportunity to raise awareness for World Sight Day. We knew we had to keep it simple. Our ask? People put their mobile phones to good use by filming a stare off between two friends. Our commitment? We donate a pair of prescription eyeglasses, Vitamin A tablets or UV protective sunglasses to someone in need each time a stare off video is uploaded with the hashtag #WHOBLINKEDFIRST.


(Watch The Video)

Our marketing team decided to launch a digital campaign for two reasons. First, we are an online optical retailer, so it simply made sense to launch a digital campaign around World Sight Day. We wanted to reach the largest amount of people in  a short amount of time, so this approach seemed fitting. Rather than leveraging emotional advertising, we drew inspiration from previous campaigns such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We realized in order to attract the GEN Y population (those living on social media platforms), our ask needed to be easy, and the donation needed to be significant enough to make the minimal ask worthwhile while generating awareness to make an impact.

The #WHOBLINKEDFIRST campaign began with our marketing team, phones in hand, walking around the office challenging colleagues to stare offs. The office was buzzing with laughter and childhood stories about the last time a staring contest was had. We were looking for simple, quick and fun, and by the end of the day we knew we’d found it.

Our main goal is to raise awareness for vision health globally, which is why we decided to donate on behalf of those uploading videos. Year round, Coastal.com provides sight, prevention and protection through its Change the View project. We donate sight restorative prescription glasses, Vitamin A tablets to prevent the early development of eye disease in children, and sunglasses to block harmful UV Rays with every purchase. For those who uploaded a #WHOBLINKEDFIRST video, we’ll be donating an additional pair of eyeglasses, sunglasses or Vitamin A tablets. To date, we’ve helped 340,000 around the globe.

In addition to a donation made on behalf of participants, we’re offering prizes for videos uploaded. Our hope is #WHOBLINKEDFIRST will spark an interest in global vision aid and bring the issue of vision into focus.

Braden Hoeppner is the Chief Marketing Officer of Coastal Contacts Inc., the optical industry’s largest ecommerce company. Braden is an experienced leader, web analyst, marketer, strategist and design thinker. By combining customer focused marketing, analytical and usability skills, he specializes in growing businesses by focusing on their online activities and e-Commerce channels to enhance results. Prior to joining Coastal Contacts, Braden held roles in vertical media and telecommunications where he guided the implementation, optimization and usage of web analytics & usability to improve website sales performance. He has also provided consulting services for online strategy to public sector and non-profit organizations. Braden holds a Bachelor Degree and Certificate of Community Economic Development from Simon Fraser University.