CAMPAIGNS: Npower Juice gets wind farm benefits across - Media Relations

Campaign: Launch of North Hoyle offshore Wind Farm Client: npower Juice PR Team: npower in-house/Ptarmigan Consultants Timescale: October-November 2003 Budget: £150,000

Npower launched its npower Juice renewable energy product in August 2001 in partnership with Greenpeace. It then embarked on its biggest project to date, the building of the UK's largest wind farm at North Hoyle, five miles off the Welsh coast.

Objectives

To raise awareness of the wind farm and its launch. To generate sales for npower. To promote the roles of the main companies and partners involved: npower Juice, Greenpeace, npower Juice's sister company National Wind Power, which built the farm, and the firm's parent company, RWE Innogy.

Strategy and Plan

The plan was to drive the story towards national media; the local strategy was to push the farm's role in the community.

Because it was unlikely that all partners would be mentioned in every story, it was decided to divide it into sectors. The wind farm was credited to RWE Innogy to the business press, nPower to the consumer press and National Wind Power in the local media.

National and local media were invited on a boat trip before the launch to see the turbines under construction and a press pack was sent to journalists.

Just before the launch day a photocall was arranged with TV's Donna Air, who'd been chosen as a celebrity spokesperson. On the day of the event, simultaneous receptions were held at London's Science Museum and at the town hall in Rhyl, Wales. Locally, there were painting competitions at primary schools in Rhyl, with winners having turbines named after them.

Measurement and Evaluation

National newspaper coverage included The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sun and the Financial Times. The launch received widespread coverage in the local press, including the Western Mail, as well as local radio stations in Wales and across the UK. BBC News, Channel 4 News and BBC children's news programme Newsround were among the national broadcast media that covered the launch.

All coverage mentioned at least one of the partners involved, with BBC News focusing on Greenpeace. Ninety-seven per cent of coverage mentioned North Hoyle as a 'landmark' and 20 per cent covered Tony Blair's support.

Results

Npower sales last November were double that of the previous year. Utility Week political and environmental editor Roger Milne was critical of npower Juice's environmental credentials at first, but feels there's more substance to the product's green marketing now. Referring to the PR operation, he said: 'I always got whatever I needed.'

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