Hive and British Gas unveil first joint campaign with Christmas tearjerker

British Gas has joined forces with sister brand Hive for the first time, releasing an emotional Christmas ad to push the smart home proposition.

The ad, created by CHI & Partners, shows a long-distance father connecting with his family using Hive's smartphone app. He uses the app to switch on the family's Christmas lights while away on tour in Norway. The tagline concludes: "You're never far away from home with Hive".

The campaign's emotional undertone marks a shift for Hive, whose previous ads have focused on explaining how its range of smart home devices work. Creatively, the spot is similar in tone to Mother's "Welcome home" spot for Ikea, which also focuses on lights in the home.

Up until now, British Gas and Hive have marketed themselves as separate entities. Now it appears the two brands will collaborate into 2017.

Nicky Mackrell, Hive's global brand and marketing director, said: "We’re really looking forward to working on more joint projects with British Gas to bring the magic of having a smart home to life for a mainstream audience."

There would be more "joint storytelling" to show the benefits of the connected home, Mackrell added.

The new strategy may help solve Hive's problem of having to educate consumers about smart homes, as well as persuade them to buy its range of products. A July Deloitte report suggested the UK smart home market has stagnated, with just 7% of consumers expecting to buy a smart thermostat in the subsequent 12 months.

Hive began with a smart thermostat, but has expanded into smart plugs and motion sensors. It claims to have doubled its user base in the last year, to 400,000 homes.