Npower has fuelled its spat with Eon with the launch of a “copycat” ad campaign that aims to undermine its rival’s advertising and steal customers in its heartland across the East Midlands and North East.
The RWE-owned brand’s latest assault on it rival comes just months after it hijacked the old British Gas icon Sid for a press campaign. Npower stole “faceless” Sid after discovering it had not be trademarked during its use as part of the Government’s campaign about the privitisation of the British Gas during the 1980s (MW February 7).
Npower admits that it has copied Eon’s campaign to promote its Go Green energy product but hits back at Eon, which is rebranding from Powergen, with claims that it has copied its marketing strategy. Both campaigns feature the image of a man swinging from a tree.
Npower is blitzing 6.5 milllion households with leaflets promoting its green credentials in a campaign designed to look like to Eon’s advertising, which has been created by TBWA/London.
Kevin Peake, Npower head of customer marketing, describes the activity as “a bit of fun” but he adds that it is also strategic move.
Peake says: “We wouldn’t do this to Scottish Power but we are head to head rivals with Eon across the middle of the country.”
He adds that Eon has also been copying its strategy, pointing to the rebranding activity, which has included sports sponsorship and the launch of green products. Eon is the official sponsor of the FA Cup.
An Eon spokesman says its ads are about “bring something new and fresh to the UK energy market”. He adds: “Our new campaign is clearly communicating this challenge and leads the sector. Our strategy is clearly working – as Charles Caleb Colton said in 1820, ’Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’.”