Energy companies add power of print

Two energy companies – Origin and Energy Australia – have used print campaigns with TV to win customers by promising lower bills. They turned on readers, ADRIAN FERNANDES discovers

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  • Energy Australia uses its icon, Wise Owl, to lift recall and extend its TV campaign
  • Readers say Origin’s straight-talking copy helped differentiate it from competitors.

Introduction

Nearly 10 million consumers who choose a home utility provider are newspaper readers. With such large reach, print is the favourite with energy companies seeking direct response. Two recent ads from Energy Australia and its rival Origin powered up both their brand scores and customer acquisition campaigns, according to results from ADvance, The Newspaper Works’ ad effectiveness monitor.

Energy Australia Ad 

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The advertisement above appeared in The Advertiser, Adelaide, in September 2015. It offers new customers a 21 per cent discount if they pay their bills on time. The execution includes the “Wise Owl”, a character that features prominently in TV commercials. To see the TV ad, click here.

Origin Execution

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The above advertisement appeared in The Gold Coast Bulletin and highlights potential savings that accompany the installation of a solar system. It builds on Origin’s highly successful “Don’t Waste Your Roof” TV campaign, which first aired in May 2015. Click here to view.

 

Brand Perceptions Results

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ADvance results show both ads significantly improved consumer attitudes. More than half of respondents (56%) said the Origin ad improved their familiarity with the brand; 48 per cent said it differentiated Origin from competitors. Clear, easy to understand copy helped achieve this score.

Some 52 per cent said the Energy Australia ad was on brand. Using a familiar feature from its TV campaign aided this outcome. “I recognised the owl from their TV ads,” said one.

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by The Newspaper Works, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.

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Both executions stimulated positive brand perceptions, outperforming the typical print ad across a range of metrics.

Some 29 per cent said the Energy Australia ad gave them a reason to sign up, a significantly higher score than the typical retail ad (17%). The “Wise Owl” triggered recall with one in five saying it reminded them of the TV campaign. A respondent said: “Nice ad, love those owls, and the wise choice line. The sign up offer is attractive.”

The Origin execution lifted consideration of solar power. Some 30 per cent said the ad raised awareness of an important issue. Another survey participant said: “Solar power should be used more. The ad makes me want to compare rates and see how competitive Origin are.”

One-in-three said the ad gave them more information about Origin, with 20 percent saying they would think differently about Origin. The execution didn’t perform as well as the Energy Australia ad in increasing TV campaign recall – a logical explanation for this: it didn’t feature any cues from its TV campaigns.

The Action Map

Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.

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Both advertisements encouraged a range of desirable consumer actions. Some 20 per cent said they would search for more information online after seeing these ads. The executions elicited similar levels of memorability (24% for Energy Australia, 23% for Origin).

The Energy Australia ad outperformed the Origin where it mattered – winning customers. Some 7 per cent said they would consider signing up to Energy Australia after seeing the discount offer. Just 1 per cent said the same after seeing the Origin ad, although its message was more complex than a relatively simple switch-for-discount approach.

Creative Diagnostics

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The creative diagnostics map shows respondents reacted positively to the designs of both advertisements. Energy Australia performed particularly well across a number of metrics, significantly outperforming the typical print ad.

Some 37 per cent of respondents said it “looked good” and 38 per cent said it was eye-catching.

Two in five respondents said the Origin ad made it easy to see what was on offer. One said: “I liked the graphic and it had just enough info to inform without compromising the look of the ad and becoming cluttered.”

Both ads significantly outperformed the average print ad in highlighting an important product feature. Some 45 per cent of respondents said the Energy Australia ad made it easy to see what was on offer, and 38 per cent gave similar assessments on the Origin execution.

Summaries

Energy Australia

This ad outperforms the typical print ad across a number of brand metrics. It builds on the Wise Owl TV ads, extending the life of the TV campaign. Consumers reacted positively to the clear offer, encouraging some to consider switching energy providers.

Origin

Origin significantly improved brand perceptions. Direct, straight-talking copy impressed consumers and helped differentiate it from competitors. The brand missed a trick by not incorporating some cues from its TV campaign to stretch its lifespan.

Quotes

Energy Australia

“It’s nice for a change that a company provides informative pricing data on their product, instead of touchy-feely stuff.”

“It was good but small compared to other ads and can get lost with other ads similar in size and colour.”

“Energy Australia has a good track record of savings on the bill.”

“Nice ad, love the owls, and the wise choice line. And sign up offer is attractive.”

Origin

“Very eye-catching. Gets to the point straight away. Clever how photo looks like sunlight. Offers savings and phone number stands out. Makes you want to find out more.”

“Well comparing to others, this seem like a really customer friendly company with easy to understand words.”

“I liked the graphic and it had just enough info to inform without compromising the look of the ad and becoming cluttered.”

“Solar power should be used more. The ad makes me want to compare rates and see how competitive Origin are.”

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