Keeping Britain warm in winter
Always-on media relations to deliver real business impact
When the UK was rocked by a cold snap dubbed ‘The Beast from the East’ in 2018, British Gas struggled to meet demand for help from homeowners, which peaked at more than 100 calls every second.
The challenge: in 2019, British Gas asked us to develop a campaign that would help relieve pressure on its engineers, giving householders the knowledge to resolve minor heating issues themselves.
The solution: we designed a strategy centred around compelling media relations, something we know our target audience is highly engaged with. The focus was on educating British households — and letting the British Gas engineers do the talking.
We analysed British Gas data to create national and regional boiler breakdown forecasts that revealed the number of homes at risk each week, backed up with tips from our engineers.
We also surveyed consumers to reveal the extent of the ‘DIY knowledge gap’, and did a day of radio interviews with an engineer, who shared more handy hints and advice.
The content we produced was adapted and updated in real-time, to ensure we capitalised on media interest in key calendar and weather moments. This helped us secure 117 pieces of positive, message-rich coverage in five months.
Against a backdrop of media hostility towards energy suppliers, 100% of coverage was positive.
And despite more extreme weather and widespread snowfall during the campaign period, engineer callouts were down 15% year-on-year, from 1.5million to 1.28million.
In the client’s words: “This was one of our best ever media relations campaigns. The coverage numbers are proof that the content development and distribution strategies were on-point, and the messaging and sentiment delivered just what we asked for from a business perspective. Bring on next winter!”