As a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, EDF wanted to celebrate its involvement and bring a new brand positioning to life. This was a big task, given the negative sentiment toward utility brands and higher profile of other sponsors.
To tackle this lack of brand excitement and engage with customers, EDF launched an innovative brand-activation campaign to connect the public with its "Feel better energy" tagline.
It created the world’s first social-media-powered light show by illuminating the London Eye, which EDF also sponsors. Sentiment analysis experts and MIT graduates developed an algorithm that assessed Games tweets to deliver a daily score of how enthused the British public was. This then fuelled PR activity, with storylines and infographics fed to the media and bloggers. A media day with the "MIT boffins" and a Mission Control Hub where visitors could see the technology at work, all contributed to the social buzz.
Judges responded to a big idea that made effective use of smart technology and communica- ted the results in a tangible and fun way. They also liked the way that EDF was seen to be "powering" the results – a direct link to what the brand stood for.
In launching the campaign, EDF hoped to drive awareness of its Olympic sponsorship and become its third-most-recognised domestic backer.
In the end it topped the list of domestic sponsor awareness (Ipsos). Despite the fact that this was the brand’s first foray into social media, EDF was ranked second only to McDonald’s in terms of its social- media impact.
Overall, "Energy of the nation" brought the "Feel better energy" proposition to life and successfully engaged with consumers. Of 16,595 visitors to Mission Control, 49% felt more positive about EDF Energy and 79% knew that the company was a Games sponsor.
"The use of sentiment analysis to illuminate the london Eye, rather than using standard graphics, was very clever. EDF used technology to encapsulate the energy of the nation." Jon Lonsdale, director, Octopus Group
EDF used its brand and the link to electricity to demonstrate the olympic feelgood factor. it made a positive feature of something that in other hands coul have been quite gimmicky." Misa von Tunzelman, lead director UK marketing, communications and research, Jones Lang LaSalle