Car headlights illuminate roads at night or in bad weather, but if they become dim or foggy, it can create a safety issue. So just like eyes get routine health checkups, headlights need regular maintenance to preserve visibility. Automotive lighting brand SYLVANIA ran with this analogy to educate drivers by launching an “eye exam” pop-up experience one evening in January for cars driving through the desert outside of Las Vegas.
“People don’t really think about their headlights that often; they turn them on, they work. So we really wanted to continue to educate people on the fact that over time—just like tires, brakes and windshield wiper blades—your headlights are wearing out as well. It’s just not as easy to see or do a test on them,” says Erin O’Malley, director-marketing at SYLVANIA. “If you do wait until burn out, you can lose up to 50 feet of visibility. That’s like a tractor-trailer length.”
Taking place at the SpeedVegas dirt track once the sun went down, the interactive “EYECARE by SYLVANIA” drive-through exam experience was set up with several checkpoints to simulate each step of a doctor’s appointment, tailored to check the health of a car’s headlights. Brand ambassadors in lab coats greeted attendees at check-in; verified their car’s year, make and model; and confirmed it was using halogen headlights to be able to participate in the pop-up. Then, attendees were directed to a “waiting room” area until it was their turn to drive into the designated “office” portion.
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Participants that were called into the eye doctor’s office pulled their car through an archway to park in front of a custom-built automotive phoropter (similar to an optometrist’s testing device made up of various lenses) and giant SYLVANIA-branded eye charts. Drivers turned off their car, keeping the headlights on to illuminate the charts, and a brand ambassador walked them through their headlights’ current state of visibility.
With a baseline established, the automotive phoropter covered up a headlight and switched on SYLVANIA’s SilverStar Ultra halogen light, showing the difference in color and brightness between the car’s existing bulbs and potential new ones. Rolling away the eye charts, a second test to see how far the lights could reach had road signs, deer and even a bigfoot cutout placed at various ranges ahead of the car in the dark desert environment. At the next station, SYLVANIA professionals replaced the participating cars’ headlight bulbs and guided attendees through the process.
“There was a lot of engagement from the participants getting out of their vehicle and being taught how to do it,” O’Malley says. “That was one of the other pieces of this pop-up—not only do we want you to experience the difference of what you’re seeing and how you can better your visibility, but also that it is a DIY project. You can do it yourself.”
Attendees came away from the experience with upgraded headlights and a restoration kit to keep their lenses clean and looking clear. The kit also contained stickers, a car air freshener and a cleaning cloth for glasses, continuing the eye care theme.
The SYLVANIA team brought the eye exam pop-up program together in three months and collaborated with product and engineering departments to nail down the necessary lighting and safety logistics. Leading up to the event, the brand used Facebook and Instagram to encourage advance registration for a time slot, and a mobile billboard traveled up and down the Las Vegas Strip to spread the word.
In the end, 10 cars had the chance to go through the hourlong exam experience, and O’Malley says video captured at the pop-up was crucial to amplifying the “EYECARE by SYLVANIA” campaign beyond the one-night activation. SYLVANIA offered free at-home headlight restoration kits, the same ones distributed to pop-up participants, for U.S. consumers to order through its website. Agency: Fitzco.
TAKE A TOUR OF THE EYECARE BY SYLVANIA EXPERIENCE:
Photo credit: SYLVANIA