“We partnered with Hearst and Immediate Media to build content strands that would bring to life not what smart meters are, but what they can do for people’s lives. And we achieved excellent results in a very low interest category. This comes from a highly trusted and targeted medium in magazines, diligent and collaborative partners, and great creative ideas linking it all together.”
Ed Duncan, Head of Brand & Advertising, Smart Energy GB
Smart Energy GB is deserving of the accolade as the magazine advertiser that capitalised to the greatest extent on the strong connections that exist between magazines, their audiences, and their passion points. Yes, it was a sizeable spender in the medium across a number of publishers, but its activity to raise awareness of smart meters, a very low interest category, among two very different audiences using very different approaches to content, was truly impressive.
Smart Energy GB and its agency, PHD, built excellent creative media partnerships with two publishers in particular, Hearst and Immediate Media, to tackle the smart meter issue.
Working with the Hearst brands Cosmopolitan, Digital Spy, and Men’s Health, Smart Energy GB managed to convince a young audience of 20-28 year-olds that energy use is something interesting, and that they should seriously consider installing a smart meter. This was no easy task, but the resulting campaign, which has won Spotlight’s Best Branded Content Award, delivered some excellent results.
The partnership with Immediate Media focused on a very different audience – the over-65s – tapping into the large, yet relevant, reach of the print editions of BBC Radio Times, BBC Gardeners’ World and BBC Good Food.
Tackling a young audience’s indifference to smart energy led to a fully-integrated, video-based, branded content series across the Hearst platform that took the broader Smart Energy GB ‘Power of 10p’ idea to issue challenges to people based on using just 10p of energy.
The resulting videos included Cosmopolitan’s ‘The Going Out’ and ‘Throw a Christmas Party’ challenges, Digital Spy’s ‘How Many Goals Can You Score on FIFA with 10p Worth of Energy?’ challenge, and Men’s Health’s ‘Make 2 Post-workout Snacks and Dinner on 10p worth of energy’ challenge.
When it came to the 65-plus audience, the activity with Immediate Media aimed to overcome any aversion to intrusive technology and unnecessary change, and positioned smart meters in a practical way. It was here that magazine media’s strength in providing a trusted environment played an important role, making print the ideal solution for Smart Energy GB to tap into the power of context, and leaning on the passion points of the audience.
The solution was to remind readers of the various tech objects that they had already accepted as ‘the new norm’, and to show how a smart meter could be part of a similar effortless transition. To bring the idea to life in print, Smart Energy GB created a series of DPS advertorials to demonstrate how gardens, kitchens
and lounges have transformed over previous decades, creating a sense of change to be relished, rather than avoided.
Smart Energy GB was rewarded for an excellent appreciation of the power of magazine media in terms of its close relationships with distinct audiences, big reach, and trusted context. The Hearst ‘Power of 10p’ activity delivered more than 1.2 million video views and inspired 67% of people to take action, and the Immediate Media partnership reached 6.5 million UK readers, of which 2.3 million were over 65. This produced a 32% uplift on the statement – ‘It’s easy to get a smart meter installed’, and a fifth of respondents were ‘likely to request a smart meter installation’ (+11% uplift from pre-campaign).