Npower is turning the screw on rival energy supplier British Gas by stealing an old British Gas icon for itself.
RWE-owned npower is preparing to roll out a campaign featuring Sid – the faceless icon who was core to the Government’s campaign advertising the state-owned utility’s privatisation in the late 1980s.
Filming on the first npower ads featuring Sid is believed to take place next week.
Npower says the character was never trademarked, offering it the perfect opportunity to “kidnap” Sid for itself.
The Tell Sid ad blitz featured mainly in poster and print, but became iconic and captured the public’s imagination as British Gas was privatised.
Npower consumer marketing chief Kevin Peake describes the move to steal the Sid character as “cheeky rather than threatening”.
He adds that npower anticipates using Sid as “a long-running brand icon” for the npower.
The new npower ads will feature Sid, a British Gas customer who is stuck in the 1980s, but who should move on and switch to npower as he will be “better off”. Peake says there is no intention to lampoon British Gas customers, as it is rival customers that npower is looking to attract.
A spokeswoman for British Gas says that as it has been the first to announce price cuts, due in the spring, there is no certainty “Sid” will be better off. She adds: “We are cutting our prices, npower isn’t. Let Sid decide.”
Peake says British Gas is facing a customer backlash, huge churn and dwindling market share, adding: “Look at any switching site and you can clearly see we are much cheaper than BG.”