Florida Power & Light's signature "Bob from FPL" campaign has celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Bob, a TV interviewer created by the Beber Silverstein Group to put a human face on the Juno Beach, Fla.-based utility, has grown into a South Florida icon.
"To go 10 years with a campaign that represents the core values of a company and meets the needs of the consumer is rare," said Jennifer Beber, president of the Miami shop. "Particularly in a world where so little work that any of us do makes any lasting impression."
Ironically, Bob, a "FPL employee" who conducts unrehearsedman-on-the-street interviews that elicit and communicate the brand's essence (warm, dependable, empathetic, user-friendly), has never shown his faceto his television audience.
"You hear him," said Beber, who declined to identify the actor who has been Bob's persona for a decade. "You come to know his personality, but you never see him. Part of his cleverness is that he keeps the attention on the customer."
The character, who also provides periodic tips on safety, energy conservation and budgeting, is so popular that he gets fan mail, even wedding invitations.
"When we first started, people would say, 'Don't bother me,' " said creative director Joe Perz. "Now we get huge crowds all wanting to talk to Bob, this mysterious, charming guy who asks quirky questions."
The spots, which run in broadcast and cable markets across South Florida, are often promoted on local news channels, adding another layer of reality to the campaign.
"Not every person he interviews is interesting," said Beber. "Sometimes Bob is having a bad day. The appeal is that real people say and do crazy things. This is not some plastic, fake commercial shoved down your throat. Real is real."