MARKETING MIX: No smut please, we're a British power company

Sex sells. Especially in Italy. And for a while this week it seemed that gas and electricity provider Powergen had taken the old adage that companies need to 'think global and act local' to new extremes.

Speculation has been rife in the City that to mark the expansion of its Italian subsidiary, the company was launching a localised web site: www.powergenitalia.com.

But it has in fact emerged that the owner of the site - which is still in development - is an Italian battery supplier that also trades under the name Powergen, not the British firm.

A spokeswoman for the UK utilities company said it had no plans to sex up its Italian customer acquisition strategy by buying up the web address.

Shame.

From a marketing point of view, powergenitalia.com has to be the brief that advertising agencies can only fantasise about.

References to electricity generation and customer service would abound, while the concept of 'Power in good hands' could take on a whole new meaning.

Mind you, perhaps the Italian company should use the site as consumer foreplay to launch its products in the UK.

After all, stamina and the ability to operate all night has to be a brand attribute of any credible battery supplier.

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