Taking visuals away from a visual brand

The photography exhibition you don't need to see.

Everyone knows Canon, but fewer know about its purpose – “imaging to transform our world” – and how it activates on that purpose with a wide range of imaging solutions, beyond cameras.

We needed to change the perception of the brand from a ‘camera company’ to a brand that is inspiring change you can really feel.

To prove this to a business and consumer audience, we needed a creative idea that demonstrated the power of its technology and the impact it has on the world.

Our Idea:

Canon believes that everyone should be able to experience photography. But what if you can’t see it? There are 2 million people living with sight loss in the UK. When it comes to experiencing photography, they’re left out in the dark.

World Unseen is the photography exhibition you don’t need to see: an immersive experience for blind, partially sighted, and sighted people. It uses Canon technology to create photography you can feel – with incredibly lifelike tactile prints, immersive soundscapes, braille and audio descriptions direct from the photographers.

World Unseen changes the way blind and partially sighted people experience photography, the way sighted people understand the blind, and how we all see Canon.

Our Strategy:

As our audience included consumers and businesses, we needed an idea that would cut through, be authentic, and keep Canon top of mind. A key segment of our audience was blind and partially sighted people. We chose to launch the exhibition at London’s Somerset House, an iconic arts and cultural space, where the experience of not being able to enjoy photography was felt most strongly by those living with sight loss.

We created articles, videos, and Meta advertising with audio and video descriptions and alt tags, as well as radio, and digital-out-of-home with NaviLens codes, so our communication was accessible to all.

Our approach was to use these platforms to demonstrate Canon’s products and purpose (“imaging to transform our world”) to change perceptions of the brand from a ‘camera company’ to a company making a positive impact on the world with its technology.

World Unseen opened at Somerset House, April 5-7th, featuring 15 photographs from world-famous photographers, seen through someone else’s lens and experienced through touch, words, and sound. They are obscured by screens simulating different kinds of visual impairments, so sighted people see photography as blind and partially sighted people do. But everyone feels them in immersive and inclusive ways: from large-print, braille, and audio descriptions to lifelike tactile prints, all made possible with Canon technology.

To reach even more people, we launched an online version of the exhibition – and promoted both with an accessible ad campaign, featuring a video series that paired photographers with blind and partially sighted people and included closed captioning and audio descriptions; social media ads that featured alt tags and video descriptions, radio ads that described the photos, and digital-out-of-home that integrated NaviLens codes, so people living with sight loss could have the content read aloud.

Our Results:

World Unseen has already reached a global audience of over 2 billion people. Its social campaign reached over 500m with 2.7m video views and a view-through rate 600% above the benchmark. The Canon website saw a 400% increase in traffic and a 500% increase in engagement.

The exhibition was sold out across all 3 days. Exit polls recorded an NPS score of 70 (outstanding), with 74% of visitors describing Canon as a ‘force for good’. 84% said they had a better understanding of the visual impairment experience.

Campaigners are calling for this technology to be rolled out in other exhibition spaces. “This is something that should be mainstream,” one visitor said.

BBC, ITV, Sky, and 171 news outlets worldwide covered World Unseen. The Times described it as “the most ground-breaking exhibition I've ever experienced.”

The World Unseen exhibition will open in 28 countries around the world over the next year.


World Unseen

The photography exhibition you don't need to see.

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