Media Analysis: Brand Spend Analysis - British Gas ignites interest in its services by spending heavily on TV advertising

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.

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

Communications.



The media planning and buying account was split between BMP OMD and

Carat, with creative from BMP DDB, Evans Hunt Scott Eurocom and

McCann-Erickson Manchester.



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

being offered.



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

strategy.



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

1999.



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

www.mediamonitoring.com.



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