CAMPAIGNS: Consumer Relationships - Lexis makes Powergen as snug as a bug

Client: Powergen

PR Team: Lexis PR

Campaign: Snug as a Bug

Timescale: June 2000 - January 2001

Budget: Estimated pounds 300,000

The winner of this year's IPR Excellence Award for Consumer

Relationships challenged the view of utility products and services as

being 'unsexy' and that consumers prefer to make their choices based on

price rather than brand loyalty.

When gas and electricity provider Powergen hired Lexis Public Relations

to promote itself to the public, the emphasis was on an attempt to stand

out and increase positive brand recognition.

Powergen hoped to gain a 'human face' and gain clear differentiation

from its competitors.


To build consumer awareness of the Powergen brand and help humanise it,

by associating the energy provider with moments in family life.

Strategy and Plan

The Lexis PR team identified bed-time as the ideal match for Powergen's


By talking around the bedtime story ritual, the energy provider could

imbue its brand with family values and simultaneously position itself as

an authority on heating and lighting issues.

Lexis commissioned psychologist Dr Arick Sigman to undertake a

three-month study into the optimum bedtime moment for youngsters,

concentrating on the best environment and practice for giving a child

the perfect night's sleep.

Sigman's findings were then used as a news hook for the media, outlining

how bed-time reading has declined by 53 per cent during just one


Ideas were provided as to how to reverse the decline, with psychological

and environmental advice for parents and guardians.

A further solution was offered in the shape of a broadcast sponsorship

with Classic FM on Sunday evenings. The aim was to produce a programme

series that introduced story-reading to children, while simultaneously

appealing to the older, reminiscent generation.

A six-week series of 'Classic Winter Tales in association with Powergen'

was developed, with stories read by celebrities including Des Lynam,

Caroline Quentin, Jerry Hall and Stephen Fry.

Measurement and Evaluation

The news creation campaign secured blanket press, TV and radio coverage

across the regional and national media, including mentions on the BBC's

Question Time, ITV Lunchtime News and Channel 5 News.

For the broadcast sponsorship initiative, RAJAR figures showed a 40 per

cent rise in child listenership (equating to more than 500,000 four to

14-year-olds) for Classic FM in the six to seven o'clock Sunday

storytime slot.

Initial research conducted by Powergen using a consumer insight survey

proved that customer awareness of the Powergen brand increased

substantially from the start of the campaign.

This awareness was sustained throughout, in the total absence of any

above-the-line activity.

When questioned as to 'why and how' they recognised the Powergen name,

most respondents referred to having seen the bed-time story research in

the media.


By identifying a universal problem in family life, then offering a

solution, the energy provider was able to secure buy-in from consumer

journalists and position itself as an authoritative voice.

Powergen has used the success and impact of the initiative as a

foundation for its marketing strategy this year.

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