EDF Energy
EDF Energy

Adwatch Review: EDF Energy

LONDON - Paul Cardwell, creative director at DCH, reviews the EDF Energy TV commercial which ranked 19th in weekly Adwatch recall survey.

Interesting. An ad promoting an event that happened more than a month ago - and a contentious one at that.

EDF Energy's ‘Green Britain Day' has been steeped in controversy ever since the French energy company started flying the green Union Jack that appears so prominently in their campaign. Is it actually their flag, or one created by Ecotricity a few years back? Perhaps the answer is blowin' in the wind, as the green flag so artfully does in this short ad.

And the flag wasn't the end of it. The campaign sparked rivals - most notably British Gas - into producing quick and derisory spoiler ads. ‘We're green every day', they told us.

The jury's out for me on the idea of a ‘Day' for every cause. It's one that has been around for a fair while, yet how many can you name, and remember each year?

As someone who struggles to remember my own birthday, it isn't an appealing concept. Surely there are more imaginative ways to promote a cause?

In this offering, we start off with an image of a walking boot, onto which the controversial flag is gradually transposed. The male voiceover tells us that they left the car behind on Green Britain Day - presumably sporting these green boots en famille instead.

That one Day was just the start, we are told. And, after doing exactly what the ad told me to do - visit the abundantly green site - I see what it means. EDF Energy is using Green Britain Day as its starter for 10 more such events, trying to get as much environmentally friendly mileage from the concept as possible. There are five teams you can join and things you can do together to save - anyone up for ‘swap party'?

The ad's certainly as clean as it is green, and at least there was one clear, simple message. But there was no preaching about what's going to happen to the world if we continue to eat away at her natural resources.

It starts from the premise that every­one already knows that there is a problem, and that we can all be involved in the solution.

As the supplier of 6% of the UK's energy, EDF Energy obviously operates within constraints. It must be very careful not to come across as sanctimonious, lest we remember that global warming is a result of extracting and burning the fossil fuels from mother nature. It has a vested interest in keeping in us in the climate-controlled rooms to which have become accustomed.

Even so, I think there was room for something fresher and newer here. I'm all for green initiatives, but with its Green Britain Day, EDF Energy has recycled one idea too many. I fear this flag hasn't yet finished fluttering.