British Gas looks to increase 'transparency' with print ads

British Gas: latest campaign aims to reassure consumers over its pricing policy
British Gas: latest campaign aims to reassure consumers over its pricing policy

British Gas is hoping to calm the "anger" of its customers by convincing them there is not a policy of predatory pricing within the energy industry.

The four-week national press campaign will address five common questions customers are demanding answers to, including: "Are the big six energy companies fixing prices?" and "Why do prices always go up but never come down?"

The campaign launches today (24 November) and coincides with British Gas managing director Phil Bentley's announcement that the company would simplify its tariffs to increase transparency. 

The changes come after regulator Ofgem last month called for a reform of the industry, to provide greater transparency so that consumers could compare prices at a glance.

Will Orr, British Gas marketing director, told Marketing the changes were a "recognition that customers are angry about the fact they have got less money, but at the same time, their energy bills are up."

Orr admitted that in the past, focus groups had shown customers were confused by pricing structures, but what was previously an inconvenience, was now providing strains on budgets.

He explained: "What's changed now is people acutely feel it as an issue in an environment of rising prices.

Press advertising by CHI & Advertising is designed to reassure customers by informing them there has never been any evidence of price-fixing, despite a number of investigations by Ofgem.

In addition, the campaign will explain it is making tariffs easier by reducing the pricing structure to two different tariff types, "fixed" and "variable".

Orr said British Gas had been preparing for the campaign for the last few weeks to "respond to what has been called predatory pricing".

The confusion created by online tariffs is also being addressed.

Orr said: "There was probably too big a discount online – small energy companies are saying this does not encourage competition because these are loss-leading tariffs."

By clearing up the confusion with the campaign, featuring the "It’s time for an honest conversation" strapline, the energy giant is hoping to prove it and the industry is not "predatory".

Orr said: "Our profit is around 5%, which is lower than mobile phone companies. There are a number of factors beyond our control – we don't control wholesale costs and buy energy in a globally competitive market."

The energy firms claim wholesale prices are rocketing as a result of North Sea reserves dwindling, events including the Arab Spring, and growing demand for energy in China and India.

Follow Matthew Chapman on Twitter @mattchapmanuk

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers