The World’s Most Effective Advertising Campaign in 2016

The World’s Most Effective Advertising Campaign in 2016

OPSM created Penny the Pirate – a book and online app that has eye tests disguised as images throughout the story. The campaign was named the world’s most effective advertising campaign in 2016 by The Warc 100’s annual ranking of marketing campaigns and has collected over 100 awards internationally.


One in six kids have a vision problem and for many it’s undetected. This is because children don’t like going to “scary” optometrists, or they don’t have easy access to one. Committed to eye health across
Australian and New Zealand, OPSM wanted to address this issue and set out to create a story that incorporates vision testing methods to allow parents to screen their children’s sight – all in the comfort of their own homes.

OPSM wanted to increase the ease, availability and
number of children getting their eyes tested. To achieve
this, they needed to create a fun and engaging way to
screen a child’s eyesight, without them even knowing.


OPSM engaged Saatchi & Saatchi and OMD who collaborated with illustrator/author Kevin Waldron and the University of Melbourne’s Department of Vision Sciences to identify three critical tests that would detect the most common vision problems for children and then integrated them into a story. Penny the Pirate was made into a printed book and an online app – both versions come with an instructional manual and screening kit that enable the tests.

While parents read the story, they use the kit contents to guide the child through each interactive ‘test’ and record their scores in the instructional manual. Once parents are finished reading, they can get their child’s results by going to the OPSM website and determine whether a visit to the optometrist is required.

OPSM also encouraged parents to share their copy via a ‘Pass It On’ program and the not-for-profit organisation, OneSight is using the book to provide efficient and accurate eye tests for children located in remote areas of Australia. The campaign was launched using a multi-channel strategy via TV, social, online, in-store displays and cinema. OMD also partnered with a network of bloggers and Australian schools to help spread the word and generate excitement around the campaign

“We have worked in development with
our agency Saatchi & Saatchi for over
eighteen months on this exciting
innovative project. We passionately
wanted to create a useful tool that
helps time poor parents to screen their
children’s vision from the comfort of
their own home – either through the
book or through the app in a fun way
and are overjoyed that it has been
recognised internationally.”
Melinda Spencer, VP of Marketing, OPSM


Penny the Pirate campaign lead to:
> 188% increase in kids eyewear packages
> 89% increase in OPSM consultation bookings
> 14% increase in sales, directly attributed to campaign
> #1 Health App in the Apple Store during launch
> Almost 50,000 engagements on social media in its first two weeks


Penny the Pirate combined traditional and digital media to produce an engaging printed book and digital app that cleverly identifies vision problems in children. This print and digital duo highlights how these channels efficiently work together to produce results.

The campaign was so successful that more than 300,000 children have had their eyes checked by Penny, leading to the number of eye tests conducted by OPSM increasing by 22.6% year-on-year Penny the Pirate has been named the world’s best marketing campaign, according to the annual Warc 100 rankings and has collected more than 100 awards including Best in show and three Golds at the Smarties mobile awards in Australia.