Recent research by London Electricity (LE) revealed low awareness
among customers of its role as a supplier to London. With de-regulation
opening up the gas and electricity markets and the prospect of
competition from up to 20 new companies, LE needed to raise its
In order to create a positive brand image, LE decided to build on
existing work with special needs customers by joining forces with Age
Concern London to launch a Winter Warmer campaign.
To raise funds for London’s older people, and to raise awareness of
older people’s needs in winter while building a London identity for
The focus of the campaign has been on gaining support and involvement
from the public and the media. The launch date was 16 December, the day
when wintry conditions swept through London for the first time this
season, fortuitously helping to reinforce the campaign’s messages.
Local press were invited to a photocall at Leicester Square Underground
Station, where pensioner Toni Blackwood ’energised’ the campaign by
pressing a button on a London Electricity generator. To gain broadcast
coverage, the team put forward spokespeople from LE and Age Concern
London who talked about the plight of the elderly in winter and gave
practical advice on how to help.
Securing ongoing media interest proved particularly challenging in that
the campaign was about issues, rather than hard news. The team addressed
this by encouraging the editors of four London newspaper groups to
develop their own campaigns under the LE/Age Concern banner.
In addition, Age Concern has identified elderly people in the
newspapers’ areas who are happy to take part in interviews. The team
will also provide experts to advise readers on energy efficiency, as
well as giving regular updates on the campaign’s progress.
In an unusual step, London Electricity used its bills as means of
encouraging customer support. Bills sent to 1.78 million customers over
the next three months will include a tear-off coupon linked to a page in
the accompanying customer magazine. The magazine explains the campaign
and encourages customers to return the coupon, either by post, through
Midland Bank or at PayPoint sites around London.
London Electricity has pledged pounds 1 for every coupon received, up to
a maximum of pounds 40,000 and customers can also make their own
To date, the campaign has generated broadcast coverage on London
Tonight, LBC, News Direct, Heart and Capital. Newspaper groups covering
north, east, south and west London have agreed to participate, in the
campaign, South London Press has already run two features on the
campaign and more are planned.
While the concept of helping the elderly in winter is not new, this
campaign has been meticulously planned and implemented. Whether it helps
create a London identity for London Electricity, or has any significant
impact on LE’s fortunes in the battle for customers, remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, LE Residential general manager, Gordon Steele is pleased
with progress to date. ’We’ve managed to find a good partner in Age
Concern and the tie-up with the local London media has been very
Client: London Electricity
PR Team: Country wide Porter Novelli/ Age Concern in-house PR team
Campaign: Winter Warmer
Timescale: Dec 1997 - Mar ’98
Cost: pounds 70,000 including an initial pounds 40,000 charitable pledge