Natural-Gas Company Shifts Perception With Classifieds

EPM Alerts Newspaper Readers to Rentals With Gas Lines

Published on .

Brand: EPM
Brand Owner: EPM
Category: Utilities
Region: Colombia
Date: December 2005-December 2006
Media Agency: Universal McCann
Other Agencies: McCann Erickson
Media Owner: El Colombiano
Media Channel: Print

Can creative media be tactical? The answer, if this case study is anything to go by, is very much yes. It's a campaign in which the humble classified ad was transformed into the perfect medium for boosting natural-gas penetration.

The challenge for EPM in Medellin was to get more households to opt for natural gas. Penetration in 2005 was low, and the problem was particularly acute in rented housing.
Houses for rent and for sale that were connected to gas were marked with a flame to make the properties stand out.
Houses for rent and for sale that were connected to gas were marked with a flame to make the properties stand out.

The barrier was that the landlords -- who control 48% of the housing in the city -- didn't want to invest in gas connections. The media solution was to make houses with gas connections more desirable, providing an incentive for landlords to pay up.

In the newspaper with the highest readership in the city, El Colombiano, all houses up for rent and for sale that were connected to gas were marked with a flame. That made the properties stand out and was backed up by an educational ad explaining what it meant.

During the yearlong campaign, the number of flames in the classified section rose from 2,300 a month to 3,500 a month. Gas-service penetration for rented housing rose from 13.3% in 2005 to 21.4% in 2006.

The strategy is being repeated in El Mundo, the second-most-popular paper in the city. Flames are also being used in car classifieds to promote the use of gas-powered vehicles.

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Cream is a U.K.-based magazine owned by C Squared Communications aimed at highlighting the best in creative media worldwide. All media ideas are part of C Squared's Creative Media Database. csquared.cc
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