CAMPAIGNS: Warm-up act for London Electricity - Cause-Related Marketing

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 profile.

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

profile.



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.



Objectives



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

London Electricity.



Tactics



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

donations.



Results



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.



Verdict



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

positive.’



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



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