Energy generation is a major contributor to air pollution. Energy companies are part of the problem and the solution when it comes to air quality, but only E.ON has taken an authentic stance.
Whilst most talk ‘green’, E.ON has gone further than any other in terms of taking action. In 2016 it ended its fossil fuel energy generation, and in 2019 switched all its domestic customers to electricity that comes from 100% renewable sources - for free.
Combined with its sustainable, clean energy solutions for consumers and businesses, the brand has an exceptionally strong purpose – and a relevant and differentiating story to tell. The problem is, air pollution is largely invisible in the UK. Research shows most people ignore the issue because they can’t see it – despite everyone being at risk.
And that was one of the biggest challenges. There’s a minority of people who are highly motivated by eco issues, but most people are passive and inert. We needed an approach and creative idea that was universal and would connect with anyone and everyone – it wasn’t a targeted strategy, it was a ‘make it relevant to everyone’ strategy.
So how could E.ON highlight this unseen killer, to help increase awareness and start the conversation about its clean air credentials?
We made the invisible unmissable: a series of shocking visualisations brought the issue to life in a variety of different channels, meaning what was out of sight was now very much front of mind.
The campaign launched in central London with a 5m (16ft) tall installation in the shape of a giant pair of glass lungs – an iconic visual designed to resonate with all who saw it. Throughout the day it tracked and displayed the air quality across London by pulling in live pollution data. A bespoke API gathered and analysed the information from a network of 33 air pollution monitoring sites – one in each London borough. When levels surpassed those set by the World Health Organisation, the lungs filled with different coloured smoke to represent the toxic pollutants Londoners breathe in every day. The lungs would then clear, and every 15 minutes the latest air quality data analysed. Whenever WHO guidelines were breached, the pristine pair of lungs would be ‘polluted’ by the smoke again. The lungs then moved to Nottingham – with more UK cities to follow.
Next, we introduced E.ON’s clean energy technologies as solutions to the air quality crisis, via a film that ran online and in cinemas. The issue was highlighted through the first person POV of a child, explaining that our future generations are most at risk. After bringing to life the invisible danger, we outlined E.ON’s commitment through its clean energy products and services.
Then, we targeted other cities that have a traffic pollution problem – and where E.ON is launching a network of electric vehicle chargers, specifically Birmingham and Manchester. We personalised the issue through interactive DOOH that pulled in real-time pollution data to show people how bad the air was in each location. Each poster acted as a mirror and, when people engaged, an augmented reality visualisation of the surrounding pollution was activated, immersing them in dirty air. Facial detection technology tracked particles to people’s mouths to make it look like they were breathing them in.
The campaign also included press, DOOH, social, pre-rolls, and radio – all driving people to the E.ON website to find out more about what it’s doing to help solve the air pollution crisis.
The campaign earned free media coverage with a reach of 120 million in the first 24 hours. It featured on both the BBC and ITV news, received press coverage in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, London Live and Time Out, and was the subject of 10 radio interviews.
Combined with extensive online coverage and influencer-generated content, to date, the campaign has reached over 196 million people. The campaign has had a significant impact in shifting how people view the brand and what it stands for. Awareness of E.ON ‘as an energy provider that cares about the environment’ increased by 99%. Perception of E.ON as ‘an energy provider that is committed to tackling air pollution’ rose by 129%. And the knowledge that E.ON ‘has home solutions that can help tackle air pollution’ showed an uplift of 96%. Overall, people’s positive consideration of E.ON increased by 97%.
During the activity, traffic to the E.ON website increased by 200%, with new visitors representing 62% of the total. Dwell time doubled, and online sales of E.ON’s clean air products grew by over 56%.
The integrated campaign included Experiential, Cinema, YouTube, Press, DOOH, Social and Pre-rolls – all directing people to the E.ON website.
We made the invisible unmissable: a 16 ft (5m) tall installation which tracked and displayed the air pollution across London.
We introduced E.ON’s clean energy technologies as solutions to the air quality crisis.
We personalised the issue through Augmented Reality DOOH that pulled in real-time pollution data to show people how bad the air was in each location.