Media Awards 2010: Best Financial, Corporate and Utilities Campaign

Title: British Gas Swimming
Duration period: March 2009-ongoing
Media agency: Carat
Media director: Richard Morris
Account directors/media planners: Rachel McGrath, Neil Dobson
Creative agency: CHI & Partners
Creative director: n/s
Account directors: Rachel McGrath, Neil Dobson, Rebecca Munds
Account planner: Rebecca Munds
Client: British Gas
Brand/product: British Gas
Marketing director: Andrew Hogan
Media/brand manager: Pamela Brown

Consumer interactions with utilities companies tend to come at negative times - such as a boiler breakdown, or the arrival of a bill. To give British Gas customers a positive interaction, and help improve brand perceptions, Carat came up with the big idea of making a long-term, meaningful investment in swimming.

The initiative saw Carat create partnerships with British Swimming and other swimming associations, making a six-year commitment to the sport. It also signed up more than a third of the pools in the UK to help promote the "Free family swim" campaign that was advertised on TV, in the press and other media.

To date, more than 300,000 swims have been given away to existing customers. Customers who took a free swim were 65 per cent more positive about British Gas, and "detractors" shrank from 35 per cent to 28 per cent of all customers.