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Case study: Zookeeper Zoe

Encouraging parents to be proactive about their children's eye health

Published: 13 Jan 2018

Zookeeper Zoe

Client: Boots Opticians

Agency: Red Consultancy

Campaign: Zookeeper Zoe

Timescale: N/A

A quick look

Red Consultancy’s Zookeeper Zoe campaign for Boots Opticians gave parents a tool to help identify if their child was among the estimated one million children in the UK with undiagnosed eye sight issues. By delivering an educational message in an engaging way (for both the parent and the child), parents were inspired to take action, leading to a significant increase in children’s eye appointments.


In the UK, 53% of children have never had an eye check and there are an estimated one million with undiagnosed eye conditions. So, Boots Opticians tasked us with raising awareness of the importance of children’s eye health among parents to encourage them to book eye tests. However, young children often don’t realise they can’t see properly plus it’s hard for parents to spot problems so we needed to find a way to help parents identify potential issues but in a way that children would engage with.


Our solution was a campaign centred around a storybook called Zookeeper Zoe featuring eye checks built in to the storyline to deliver an eye check by stealth. We created a storybook as the central asset in order to fit in with parents’ busy lives. It’s easy for eye checks to slip off parents’ radars but by focusing on a moment that they already share with their children - storytime our solution worked within existing routines and nudged them  into action rather than ‘finger-wagged’. We sourced a children’s author and illustrator to create the story of a girl who became a zookeeper for the day incorporating eye checks on focus, colour, details distinction and astigmatism.

Our Creative Services team designed and produced the book which was reviewed by the National Literacy Trust to ensure it met necessary quality standards. As smartphones and tablets are already part of the lives of many parents and children, we made the free storybook available as a fully responsive mobile-optimised microsite as well as a published book available in Boots Opticians and Boots stores.

The microsite was developed and built by our in-house digital build experts who ensured an engaging user experience that worked across multiple platforms. Drawing in expertise from across our health, consumer and social media practices, we developed a PR campaign designed to land our messages in mainstream as well as health media for maximum awareness.

A zoo-themed event launched the book to media and bloggers plus celebrity parents chosen for their appeal to different types of parents and to ensure popular mainstream media coverage. Negotiations with the celebrities ensured awareness of Zookeeper Zoe was spread across their social channels. Presenter and singer Peter Andre was enlisted to write a foreword for the book and conduct media interviews.

He lent an authentic voice to the importance of eye health as both his children wear glasses. Press releases and campaign collateral were developed to target a range of editorial outlets from news and showbiz to health and book reviews. Parenting bloggers with children of the relevant age were also engaged with. While conceived as a PR idea, the campaign was extended by Boots across in-store, advertising and digital channels.


We successfully struck a chord with hundreds of thousands of parents - 450,000 free books were picked up in-store and over 100,000 parents visited the microsite, peaking at 9,000 daily visits during launch week.

Awareness of the book was generated by extensive editorial and social media coverage reaching an audience of 35.4 million. Earned social activity with celebrities and bloggers reached 17 million with a video posted by Peter Andre on Facebook receiving 32,000 views and 1,900 likes in the first 24 hours.

Most importantly, Zookeeper Zoe inspired parents to take action. Year-on-year, Boots Opticians saw a 11% uplift in children’s eye appointments following the book’s launch.

Client verdict

Annalise Pearce, mum of Olivia“When Olivia could only complete one of the eye checks we booked a full eye test at Boots Opticians and were surprised when she was prescribed lenses. We’re delighted at the progress she’s made since having her glasses - we’ve witnessed an amazing turnaround particularly at school. I’d recommend that all parents get their little ones’ eyes tested and Zookeeper Zoe is a great place to start.”

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The Porterhouse Medical Group provides powerful, insight-driven, healthcare communication services to the pharmaceutical industry across the globe, with a focus...