Air pollution is the UK’s number one public health priority, contributing to 1 in 20 deaths. Traditionally, energy companies have been part of the problem.
But E.ON is on a mission to engage consumers around the air quality crisis, offering innovative clean energy technologies for both the consumer and business markets.
The problem is, air pollution is largely invisible in the UK. Research shows 63% of people put it to the back of their minds because they can’t see it – despite everyone being at risk.
In the UK a minority of people are highly motivated by eco issues, but most are uninterested. And because air pollution is an ‘unseen’ killer it’s even more difficult to engage the public. An approach was required that would connect with anyone and everyone: we needed to ‘personalise’ the issue. It wasn’t a targeted strategy, it was a ‘make it relevant to everyone’ strategy.
We created an iconic visual everyone could relate to - something beautiful and pure that stopped people in their tracks. And then we ruined it.
The 5m tall pair of stylised human lungs towered over passers-by. Deliberately positioned to frame the air above the London skyline, the clear blue sky was visible through the lungs’ crystal-clear chambers. Everything was ‘clean’ to begin with, from their spotless interior to their minimalist design.
Throughout the day, the installation tracked and displayed London’s air quality using live pollution data. When WHO safe limits were breached, they became ‘polluted’ by smoke – a sickly, visual violation of the previously immaculate lungs, highlighting the risk Londoners face from toxic air every day.
Coinciding with Global Climate Strike week, and London’s ‘Car-free Day’, their timing and placement outside the London Mayor’s office in City Hall was deliberately provocative, to generate as much media interest as possible.
‘London’s Lungs’ featured on the BBC and ITV news, and in all the quality daily newspapers – earning E.ON free media coverage with a reach of 120 million in the first 24 hours.
The installation launched E.ON’s ‘It’s Time To Clear The Air’ campaign. During the activity, perception of it as ‘a company that cares about the environment’ increased by 99%, and being ‘committed to tackling air pollution’ by 129%. Awareness it ‘has solutions to tackle air pollution’ went up by 96%.
Overall, people’s positive consideration of E.ON increased by 97%. Traffic to the E.ON website increased by 200%, new visitors representing 62% of the total. Dwell time doubled, and sales of E.ON’s clean air products grew by over 56%.
Most importantly, E.ON is now at the forefront of the clean air debate: the campaign has transformed the way this big energy company is viewed by consumers and the media.