Centrica plots overhaul of British Gas' comms

Centrica has launched a major pitch process for an agency to help mould the brand reputation of British Gas.

Controversy: British Gas has warned of increasing energy bills
Controversy: British Gas has warned of increasing energy bills

Blue Rubicon was brought in by Centrica in 2007 to handle a corporate reputation brief to boost British Gas’ image as an environmentally progressive, green energy supplier.

It is now thought that the company is repitching Blue Rubicon’s strategic comms account, believed to be worth more than £500,000 a year. The brief includes corporate, consumer and campaigns.

Blue Rubicon notes on its own website that British Gas is ‘one of our biggest clients’ and one industry source labelled the brief ‘an agency-defining account’.

The repitch comes in the month that PRWeek revealed Blue Rubicon itself is actively seeking outside investment to grow its footprint internationally.

British Gas has contacted a number of agencies about the brief, but the process is thought to be in its early stages and no formal pitch has yet taken place.

It is thought that Blue Rubicon intends to repitch for the account. Both Centrica and Blue Rubicon declined to comment.

One of British Gas’ major campaigns handled by Blue Rubicon is the Green Streets campaign, which supports grassroots community energy projects such as innovative solar, wind or hydro-power developments.

The news follows a recent internal restructure in the Centrica comms function after the December departure of group director, corporate affairs Catherine May and a reduction in comms staff by 20 per cent.

Paul Fincham is director of external comms for British Gas, while former BBC journalist Greg Wood leads Centrica group media relations.

The company’s corporate reputation has come under fire in recent weeks after the firm warned of escalating bills on the same day it approved new pay packages for the bosses.

Centrica in the news

  • The firm headed off a shareholder revolt on 11 May over the terms of its executive remuneration packages. Concerns were raised about the terms of the packages and 16 per cent of shareholders refused to back the deal.
  • Last week the energy firm announced it may have to increase energy bills this winter by at least £50 because of the increase in the cost of supply.

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