OVO Energy ads are unlike any others in the UK energy category, and its decision to confront the climate change-denying position of the US president has paid off according to the agency behind them.

The philosophy of Uncommon, founded in 2017 by three senior executives from Grey London, is different in that it seeks to avoid simply building campaigns for brands wanting to sell more stuff but rather looks to help create brands that people wished existed – and to take a stake in them as well.

OVO Energy was the new agency’s first major client and, as a relative newcomer itself – it was founded in 2009 – it has sought to challenge the market incumbents with a simplified green offer and a focus on customer satisfaction.

In hindsight, the two might seem to be made for each other, but, as Uncommon co-founder Nils Leonard explained at the recent What’s Possible ’19 event in London, the agency didn’t want to work with a client who wasn’t as enthusiastic as it was about what it wanted to achieve for the brand. (For more, read, WARC’s report: Inside OVO’s ‘swing’ at the big six UK energy giants.)

The relationship began without the usual pitch process, as OVO agreed to give Uncommon some money to go away and develop an idea on the proviso that it would pay more if it liked it.

What emerged was an assessment that in a low-energy energy category, to stand for something would differentiate the brand.

The initial idea of demonstrating all the electrical appliances that could be powered by renewable energy was given extra bite with an aggressive soundtrack and a background of comments from pundits denying climate change.

When the #RenewableIsUnstoppable platform made a buzz, OVO surprised Uncommon by wanting more – specifically to go after Donald Trump’s pronouncements on the subject of climate change.

The resulting ad featuring a lookalike Trump taking a golf club to smash solar panels ended up on the front page of Reddit, “which was insane”, said Leonard.

But then it disappeared suddenly, “which was weird”. But whatever the reasons for that, the brand saw a significant increase not only in search terms but in leads.

And, Leonard added, at the same time as it staked out a position, it asked a question of consumers. “There’s a lot of talk about what’s the brand’s purpose – what’s yours?”

Sourced from WARC