npower Fuel Banks

Challenge

Fuel poverty is a significant problem in the UK, with some British families making a choice between ‘eating or heating’. Npower wanted to provide free same-day gas and electricity top ups to pre-pay customers who need it most, and it was our job was to engage the community and increase brand favourability.

Creative

For the last 3 years Golin has supported the Fuel Bank with a communications strategy to raise awareness of the ‘heat or eat’ issue and grow the reputation of npower. The campaign tackled the issue of fuel poverty head on and aimed to change the perceptions of the UK public that companies like npower are indifferent to hardships faced by people in crisis. Working with National Energy Action and the Trussell Trust food banks we launched Fuel Banks, a new way of providing free and immediate support in the form of £49 gas and electricity top-ups to those most in need. We rallied stakeholder support and established npower’s credibility and authenticity through a partnership with the Institute for Public Policy. The latest campaign saw npower partner chef and activist Jack Monroe to create FUEL, a fake restaurant which brought to life the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma for diners to help launch the npower Foundation.

Change

Instead of hiding from criticism of exacerbating fuel poverty through high prices, the Fuel Banks campaign tackled this issue head-on. We helped Npower to change its perception by showing how the company provides practical, meaningful help to people struggling to afford either gas or electricity. There were over 100 items of coverage across the first week of the campaign alone. Favourability toward the company scored at +90% (positive sentiment minus negative sentiment). Since then our coverage and content has reached millions and won the PRCA’s CSR Award.

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