Rapper Common joins Allergan to warn in rhyme—and swirling color—about vision loss

Allergan has teamed up with rapper Common to encourage Americans to protect their vision, part of an ongoing awareness campaign about vision loss.

Allergan is pushing full steam ahead on its preventable blindness initiative, See America. After launching the effort last month, the Dublin drugmaker has teamed up with its first celebrity spokesman: Common.

Tuesday, Allergan rolled out a new video, which features the rapper and actor rhyming about the gift of sight.

“It’s what captures each blue sky, every eye-to-eye, those pixelated moments that build memories in our minds,” he says, as words and vibrant streaks of color swirl around him. Allergan’s favorite buzzword—“bold”—manages to sneak in there, too. “The unexpected, the bold, it’s yours to protect,” Common tells viewers.


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And what will happen if they don’t? “Picture this,” Common urges viewers, as the on-screen colors disappear and the scene fades to black, with only a flickering spotlight illuminating him. “Warmth without sunshine, footsteps without a trace. It comes without a whisper, it comes without a face,” he says of vision loss.

That scenario is exactly what Allergan hopes the 61 million Americans at risk for the condition will want to avoid after viewing the spot. With the awareness effort, it’s looking to encourage consumers to “make the time to protect your vision,” as Common puts it, and it’s working to increase awareness of vision-damaging diseases and improve access to vision care, too.

RELATED: Eye-med maker Allergan takes on preventable blindness with nationwide vision-screening push

To do that, the drugmaker—which makes glaucoma-fighting treatments Lumigan and Alphagan—is also sponsoring a series of vision-screening events in various U.S. cities, with Houston; Columbus, Ohio; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Atlanta on the docket between now and mid-May. Attendees will receive free one-on-one professional eye exams, follow-up treatment plans and info about the most common vision-affecting diseases.

The Common video is the second from Allergan in a week’s time that encourages people to seek out eye exams. Last week, it came out with a spot urging sufferers of dry eye symptoms to embrace “eyepowerment” and talk to their doctors. That video featured famous women—including Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Grace Kelly—whose eyes help “tell their personal story, reveal their character and leave their mark on the world.”

Meanwhile, Allergan is hard at work on eye disorders outside the marketing arena, too. It’s also been active at the M&A table, bolstering its vision-helping prospects this week with a $90 million CRISPR research pact with gene editing biotech Editas.

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