British Gas seeks shop to lead digital plans

LONDON - British Gas has begun a search for an agency to review its digital marketing efforts and overhaul its website, www.house.co.uk.

The energy supplier is understood to have contacted five agencies with an initial brief to look at the usability and design of the site.

The move marks the first time British Gas has sought a lead digital agency since it dropped Tribal DDB in July 2004 and moved its digital marketing in-house. Since then, it has used its above-the-line and DM agencies, Clemmow Hornby Inge, WWAV Rapp Collins and EHS Brann, for online work.

British Gas restructured its business in June 2005, following the news that it had lost 500,000 customers in six months and was likely to have to raise prices by 15 per cent. Amanda Mackenzie joined as the director of brand marketing, replacing Nick Smith, in September.

Energy companies are becoming more aware of the role the internet is playing in helping customers to change suppliers. In December, npower doubled its online marketing spend to 14% of its £6m marketing budget. It also consolidated its media with Aegis to integrate its on- and offline media plan.

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