British Gas writes its own headline

British Gas seemed to be admitting to its own media relations shortcomings in a half-page advert run in the free newspaper Metro on Tuesday.

The ad showed a mock-up newspaper headline, 'British Gas customer freezes energy prices till 2010 and feels cosy', with the line, in BG's own font, 'Funny how good news doesn't always make the headlines'.

To us this read as if BG has failed to get its good news out, and has used ads to have a dig at journalists for failing to cover the 'good news'.

Our initial call to BG's press office had them asking whether PRWeek happens to be a BG customer, before adding: 'I think you're reading too much into this.' A quote is eventually emailed: 'The good news is our PR activity achieved its aim - to educate customers on why energy prices are rising across the industry (soaring oil costs and lack of European liberalisation).'

It adds: 'The bad news is PRWeek obviously took a sickie on the day the lecturer covered the marketing mix and the importance of the four Ps.

'At British Gas, PR works in a wholly integrated way with marketing.' By now we really were baffled. Understanding integrated marketing is one thing, but advertising the headlines you want is another.

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