Npower targets women as it defends price rise

Npower is repositioning with an ad campaign targeting women, designed to answer recent criticisms about price hikes in the energy sector.

The initiative is intended to push Npower's offering of 'ability and stability' at a time when energy providers are under pressure to rein in price rises.

The animated ads will position Npower's female customers as the chief executives of their households. The ads feature 3-D characters on a 2-D background, with its orb brand icons relegated to the endframe.

Nearly all the characters featured, with the exception of one woman who is an Npower customer, are upside down, reflecting the state of flux that the UK is in regarding energy bills and prices. The campaign, created by Beattie McGuiness Bungay, uses Bing Crosby's classic song Accentuate the Positive.

The initial TV activity breaks on ITV and Channel 4 on Friday and will be supported by two further ads breaking in March and April. Each execution will have an additional customer proposition from the brand.

Npower was the first energy provider to raise its domestic prices - by 12.7% for electricity and 17.2% for gas - following an increase in wholesale energy prices. It was followed by British Gas, which announced a 15% rise; EDF has also raised its gas and electricity prices by 12.9% and 7.9% respectively for 5.5m customers.

Consumer watchdog Energywatch has criticised providers for being too quick to raise charges, and the chancellor, Alistair Darling, has written to Ofgem, the official regulator for the electricity and gas market, also expressing concern at the increases.

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