Ofgem’s new campaign will urge us to save energy, but we’ve seen it all before

PM Liz Truss refused to sign off a £15m public information campaign because it was too “nanny state,” but UK energy regulator Ofgem has stepped in, and is now working with energy companies on a campaign teaching us how to save energy and reduce bills.

Ofgem wants to spend the budget on sharing tips like “only use heating when required”, “turn off lights when you leave the room”, and “switch off devices”. It’s exactly the same message as these 1970s “Switch off something” films — just update the decor and the fashion and you’re good to go.

Of course, Truss could be right that a campaign isn’t necessary. The media is doing the job pretty well and the “warmdrobe” is now a thing, while onesies are back in fashion and John Lewis is selling out of fleeces.

But we are facing huge bills and potential blackouts this winter – not to mention the long-term climate emergency – so a campaign to reduce energy usage couldn’t hurt. The&Partnership and British Gas Energy Trust made a powerful ad about energy poverty in May, and other efforts have had various success over the years.

“Baldilocks and the three hairs” is classic 80s advertising noir from SaveEnergy.co.uk .

In the 90s, “Keep warm keep well” was another dark film, encouraging people to look out for their neighbours.

In the 00s, the Energy Savings Trust, which works with both the government and the energy companies, introduced us to “Dave,” an animated figure with sensible advice.

Or here’s another Dave, eco warrior Dave Angel, from The Fast Show for energy company Utilita.

Ofgem might find it hard to get the energy companies to agree on a creative route, but it’s a great brief for any agency.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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