TAYE is a subsidiary of the Vision Council and its sole function is to promote the need for eye examinations. Who among us hasn’t thought for many years that “someone” should do something about the fact that most people don’t understand the need for regular exams? Well, “someone” has stepped up to make that happen. TAYE has received major funding from industry leaders; Alcon, Vistakon, Essilor and Luxottica, among others, have made large commitments to the campaign. Now those companies want someone else to also contribute to this effort; someone who also benefits from increased public awareness of eye care and the need for exams. That someone is you.
I’m sure many of you, much like myself, buy advertising in community bulletins and sports programs, knowing that you probably won’t get any direct benefit from it, but hope that having your name positively associated with community activities may benefit you in the long run. The TAYE website features a doctor locator, and offers a tracking function for doctors that reports how many patients were directly referred to you by the site. I recommend thinking of TAYE as a public relations effort, like those local ads. You may not see a direct benefit that justifies the investment in the short term, but over time, by reinforcing that message of regular eye exams and the importance of eye health, we will see an increase in the entire industry, which will benefit everyone. Your participation in TAYE serves multiple benefits. Firstly, the money you pay goes toward additional advertising. Secondly, the industry sponsors have indicated that if they see doctors participating, they will continue and increase their sponsorships.
You will likely see that the advertising will come in waves. TAYE has some marketing experts who determine where, when and how the money is spent. As with any advertising, it is more effective to have someone hear your message multiple times over a short period than to spread it out. If you think about it, you will realize most advertising campaigns work this way. You keep seeing or hearing the same commercial over and over, and then you don’t hear it for a while, and then they come back with a slightly different message some time later. So if you haven’t heard or seen the ads yet, keep looking and listening. If you heard them and thought they stopped, know that they will likely increase and decrease throughout the year based on what is most effective.
How much is it to support this massive national advertising program? Well, they have two plans, but the basic plan is only $200 for AOA members, and you can use a credit card to make monthly payments (only $16.67 a month!). I encourage you all to go to www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com and check it out. You can sign up and also watch the TV commercials if you haven’t seen them yet.
Richard Christoph, O.D.