British Gas: Are they saving the planet or themselves?

british gasWhat do you do if your company profits from the world’s natural resources but you want to try to convince increasingly environmentally friendly consumers that you aren’t actually plundering the planet?

Well, if you’re British Gas you put the onus on consumers by launching a major multimedia ad campaign, “This is what being more sustainable looks like”, to show them how to be more green in their energy consumption, of course.

Designed to “uncomplicate the jargon-filled world of sustainability”, this is the second campaign by WPP-owned Nucleus, which integrates The & Partnership, MediaCom, Wunderman Thompson and BCW, and was set up to put data-led and insight customer planning at the heart of Centrica’s marketing communications.

Now, apparently, public confusion is rife, with British Gas’ own research revealing that 38% of Brits are unsure how to begin their carbon neutral journey, and that over half aren’t even sure what the terms ‘net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’ mean. [The British public are stupid? Getoutahere.]

Anyway, furthermore, 84% of Brits expect brands to be part of the solution, and, guess what, British Gas aims to deliver on this promise with both simple education and practical solutions we can all adopt.

With this in mind, three 30-second films capture the sustainable actions consumers can make every day, from turning down the heating via their phone and plugging in their electric car at home, to only filling the kettle up enough for a single cuppa; all set against the soundtrack of DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s Turn Down for What?

The campaign will feature multiple executions across TV and VOD, as well as appearing on the big screen across UK cinemas and digital and OOH channels.

But just in case you were wondering what impact this will all have on the environment, the entire campaign will be offset using a carbon calculator, a tool developed by MediaCom and CO2balance. Phew.

British Gas marketing director enthused: “Sustainability doesn’t have to feel like such a big word. We want to make living sustainably feel as simple and accessible as possible. We’re delighted to launch a campaign that doesn’t just talk about sustainability as a topic for future years, but showcases the real and practical solutions we offer, to make a real difference, starting today – not tomorrow.

“We want this campaign to show that not only can being a little greener start at home, but that there are already very real, very ‘everyday’ solutions out there to start making a big difference. Stripping away at the confusion around the journey to net zero, we’re celebrating the everyday sustainable moments which will all add up to a better world.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, this is an odd one. Quite why British Gas thinks it needs to show everyone how to turn down the power, to be more energy conscious is anyone’s guess. Hasn’t this message been done to death already?

Add in a blast of Turn Down for What? – possibly one of the most annoying tracks ever created – and they are likely to do little to tackle supposed consumer confusion.

“Turn down” the volume on the TV to ditch the soundtrack and they might actually be onto something.

Whether this campaign will encourage consumers to switch to British Gas, however, is anyone’s guess. But one thing’s for sure, they’ll carry on taking the gas out of the ground until it’s gone…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A ‘we’re not hypocrites, honest’ 6 out of 10

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