The large range of services offered by British Gas - and the fact
that it is part of the giant Centrica Group - means it often needs to
boost its brand identity, which explains why it spent more than pounds
15 million on corporate advertising alone last year.
In fact, British Gas is the 21st biggest advertiser in the UK, with an
adspend in 1999 of more than pounds 40 million - more than any other
utility and telecoms company, apart from BT and One2One
The media planning and buying account was split between BMP OMD and
Carat, with creative from BMP DDB, Evans Hunt Scott Eurocom and
Most of the ad budget was directed at TV, which accounted for 47 per
cent of 1999 spend, followed by direct mail with pounds 9 million (20
per cent), national press with pounds 8.4 million (19 per cent), outdoor
with pounds 2.5 million (6 per cent), radio with pounds 1.8 million (4
per cent) and regional press with pounds 1.5 million (4 per cent).
British Gas’s spend was spread fairly evenly throughout 1999, with most
media being used each month, except for outdoor where there was little
or no activity for five months of the year. Advertising activity surged
in October and November to pounds 6.1 million and pounds 7.6 million
respectively, due mainly to substantial TV advertising.
The deregulation and regionalised structure of the UK utilities market
means British Gas advertising is often finely targeted, but it is also
increasingly diverse with a growing number of existing and new products
This reflects the desire of its parent Centrica to transform all three
of its core businesses (British Gas, AA and Goldfish) into one-stop
shops for a range of financial and lifestyle services.
To help meet this goal, Centrica recently introduced customer
relationship management software into its core businesses to enable
one-to-one customer relationships and a far more targeted marketing
Corporate advertising aside, some of the key products and services
advertised by British Gas in 1999 included its advance payment option (2
per cent of total spend), central heating (3 per cent), customer care
(11 per cent) and electricity supply (13 per cent). Direct mail was the
chief vehicle for promoting financial services (24 per cent of the total
pounds 9.1 million spend), and also for cross-selling the supply of
electricity to existing gas customers.
British Gas advertised on 101 television channels and stations in
It poured pounds 18.2 million of its pounds 20.82 million total
television spend on ITV and Channels 4 and 5, and the remainder on
various satellite and digital channels. Key stations used included LWT
(pounds 3.34 million), Central (pounds 2.1 million), Meridian (pounds
1.8 million), Sky 1 (pounds 590,000) and Sky News (pounds 520,000).
Research by AC Nielsen MMS, telephone: 01344-627553