D.C. Gas Makes Time For People

Aware that it will soon face competition to provide natural gas to residential and commercial customers, Washington Gas is using the remaining days before industry deregulation as the only supplier in its mid-Atlantic markets to reinforce its brand image.
The utility broke a multimedia advertising campaign last week from its agency, Demaine Vickers of Alexandria, Va. Ads stress how the gas company can improve the quality of life for customers, as opposed to simply selling services.
“It was kind of a radical shift for a company like us to move in that direction,” said James White, vice president of business development for the D.C.-based utility. “We’re entering an era where customers will have choices for their basic service. We’re trying to differentiate ourselves as we move toward deregulation. We want customers to remember us for the things they value.”
The campaign plays up various aspects of the company’s ancillary services, and how those amenities can make people’s lives a bit better.
For example, television commercials tout a monthly automatic payment plan that saves consumers time. The ads show activities like a mother being able to give her toddler a leisurely bath and an older married couple strolling through the woods.
Another television execution, shot in black and white, shows a woman reading poetry to her husband as they lay in bed. The spot makes the point that the company’s ability to read the gas meter from the curb means never having intimate moments interrupted.
The campaign’s themeline is: “Washington Gas–giving you energy and the time to use it.”
The new work, airing in the client’s Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., markets, are scheduled to run for the next six months. The initiative includes radio and print advertising as well.