British Gas is investing £50m in its long-term campaign to position itself as a consumer champion. The first part of the advertising element has entered Adwatch at number six with a 64% recall.
The ads are the first created for the utilities company by Clemmow Hornby Inge (CHI) since it won the business in May from BMP DDB, which held the account for 12 years.
The ads, positioning the company as trustworthy, feature Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson as a British Gas trainer. The first execution shows him teaching recruits how to fix a burst water pipe under extreme conditions, as his lesson involves a drenching for one of the trainees courtesy of a fireman's hose. Tomlinson then turns to a woman in the group, indicating that she's next up. The ads all use the endline 'Doing the right thing'.
A second spot highlights British Gas' central heating system service package. In this ad, Tomlinson persuades an unsuspecting trainee to fall back into his arms to show how the service is a fallback for customers. But he steps out of the way, allowing the trainee to crash to the ground, demonstrating the consequences of not being signed up to the service.
CHI new business director Sarah Gold says: "The strategy for British Gas is to move from a product supplier of energy to a home services provider. It's about selling those products to new customers and existing British Gas customers.
"We chose Ricky because we felt he would be seen by customers as a down-to-earth and credible supervisor - someone you could respect but who also has a sense of humour."
The creative idea behind the campaign has also been used for internal marketing at the utilities giant, including a video tracing the firm's history and its customer service commitment. Posters supporting the campaign use lines such as 'Cut your bills' and 'Because things go wrong'. Media has been handled by Carat.
British Gas has a 63% share of the residential gas market, 24% of the electricity market and 400,000 telecoms customers.