British Gas cuddles up to customers with CHI’s ‘Wilbur the Penguin’ campaign

You sometimes feel that energy companies work in a parallel universe, or would like to.

We wait to see if this winter will bring the usual brickbats onto the heads of UK energy company CEOs as they whack up prices a lot quicker than they bring them down. In the meantime some of their profits (but we don’t make any, they say, although we don’t believe them) are spent on nice, cuddly ads that avoid, at any cost, what we used to call the man from the Gas Board.

At some stage this autumn we will no doubt see Maya the orangutan making a reappearance for SSE, courtesy of adam&eveBBDO (with the usual outcry from Guardianistas about exploiting apes etc).

CHI is first out of the traps with its ‘Warm and Working’ campaign for British Gas (a listed company) featuring what it hopes is a version of animal magic in Wilbur the Penguin.

British Gas director of brand marketing Margaret Jobling says: “Recently we launched our No Place Like Home campaign, which was developed based on the insight that home is our haven, and highlighted the fact that British Gas is dedicated to looking after British homes. Already we’re seeing a shift in people’s perceptions, with over half of those exposed to the campaign in the two weeks following launch saying that they feel better about British Gas as a result. We’ve also seen a strong impact on social media, with our #NoPlaceLikeHome activity contributing significantly to positive buzz.”

So it seems to work. But that’s the point of good old bought media. You can say what you like, within limits.

MAA creative scale: 6.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.