NPower ramps up PR spend for 2006

Energy firm nPower is putting PR at the core of its marketing strategy for 2006, with the appointment of August.One Communications on fees in excess of £250,000 – its biggest-ever spend.

The RWE-owned company said PR would 'underpin' its brand marketing as competition intensifies in a sector widely deemed to be lacking in brand personalities – and thus ripe for PR campaigns.

Priorities include promoting nPower's sponsorship of the new Wembley Stadium; its Juice product, which provides energy from offshore wind farms; sponsorship of England cricket tests; and its 'Gas Guardian' campaign, which offers to freeze bills until 2007.

It is locked in an increasingly acrimonious battle with British Gas, and faces intense competition from Eon-owned Powergen.

NPower has ceased to work with Ptarmigan after more than five years.

August.One won a three-way pitch. Its brief is mainly consumer brand work but includes product comms, corporate reputation and CSR.

Juice received a publicity fillip this week when Conservative leader David Cameron proudly declared that he had signed up to it.

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