British Gas Promo, Case study SWIMMING by Carat London

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Industry Raw Materials & Minerals
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency Carat London
Released March 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Sponsorship
Advertiser: BRITISH GAS
Product/Service: BRITISH GAS
Date of First Appearance: Mar 1 2010
Entrant Company: CARAT, London, UNITED KINGDOM
Entry URL:
Deputy Managing Director: Richard Morris (Carat)
Client Director: Rachel McGrath (Carat)
Account Director - Sponsorship: Neil Dobson (Carat)
Associate Director: Jon Pile (Carat)
Associate Director: James Hyams (Carat)
Associate Director - Sponsorship: Natasha Williams (Carat)
Manager - Sponsorship: Kevin Bull (Carat)
Manager: Rachel Lake (Carat)
Manager - Sponsorship: Matt Riches (Carat)
Executive - Sponsorship: Joanna Hunter-Smart (Carat)
Media placement: British Swimming Sponsorship - Event Sponsorship / Branding - 1 March 2010
Media placement: British Gas Swimming Championships – Sheffield - Event Sponsorship / Branding - 29th Mar 2010 - 3rd April 2010
Media placement: British Swimming Training Camp – Majorca - Event Sponsorship / Branding - 4th May 2010
Media placement: European Championships – Budapest - Event Sponsorship / Branding - 4th - 15th August 2010
Media placement: IPC World Championships – Eindhoven - Event Sponsorship / Branding - 4th - 15th August 2010
Media placement: Pools For Schools - Kent Event - Event Sponsorship / Branding - April 2010
Media placement: Great Swim Series (5 Events) - Event Sponsorship / Branding - Jun - Sept 2010

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
British Gas was finding customer retention increasingly difficult. The majority of its 12m+ customers were “detractors”. British Gas’ goal was to have the sectors best NPS (Net Promoter Score) from a starting position of 3rd place.

Research told us that 88% of British Gas customers’ brand perceptions were driven by customer experiences rather than communications.

Our idea was to create positive customer experiences to balance the negatives such as quarterly bills and drive up NPS by investing in something new and untested: The most extensive association with swimming ever.

Why swimming? “Alpha Mums” and “Weekend Dads” were our target. For resonant positive experiences, we needed something enjoyable and integral to their lives. 50% of British Gas customers already swam and 63% would miss their pool more than any other leisure facility if it closed. Something British Gas could help pools with by advising on how to cut their energy bill.

Creative Execution
We owned the sport from paddling pool to podium, making British Gas Principal Partner of British Swimming, supported by a plethora of customer focused owned assets and initiatives including:

• “FREE Family Swim” giving away 300,000 swims to customers.
• British Gas Pools 4 Schools™ programme, providing temporary swimming facilities teaching 10,000 non-swimmers to swim
• Sponsored the annual Great Swim series getting 10,000 people swimming in open water
• Co-created “Duel in the Pool” event, broadcast live on the BBC, gaining 1.3m viewers (£7.6m in equivalent media value!).
• Recruited athlete ambassadors including Rebecca Adlington and Duncan Goodhew to build swimming’s media profile supporting British Gas campaigns

This was amplified with bought media above the line comms to drive understanding and awareness including tactical press and digital around swimming editorial and news stories as well as supporting the athletes during major championships.

Results and Effectiveness
In 12 months, prompted awareness reached 22% for customers and 18% for non-customers (vs. 10% target). The Net Promoter Score of customers aware was an incredible 10 points higher than those unaware and their brand commitment grew +15%. Customers who took a free swim were 65% more positive about British Gas. “Detractors” shrank from 35% to 28% of all customers (700,000 households!). Lastly by the end of 2010 we had already achieved our long-term goal: British Gas had the highest NPS of any energy supplier.