SEEING A UTILITY COMPANY IN A BETTER LIGHT

TitleSEEING A UTILITY COMPANY IN A BETTER LIGHT
ClientMERALCO (MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY)
Product / ServiceMERALCO ADVISORY
CategoryA01. Corporate Reputation & Communication
EntrantDDB PHILIPPINES Taguig City, THE PHILIPPINES
Entrant Company DDB PHILIPPINES Taguig City, THE PHILIPPINES
Advertising Agency DDB PHILIPPINES Taguig City, THE PHILIPPINES
Media Agency STARCOM MEDIAVEST GROUP PHILIPPINES Makati City, THE PHILIPPINES
Production Company CUTTINGEDGE PRODUCTIONS Makati City, THE PHILIPPINES

The Campaign

Meralco, the country’s biggest power distribution company, is the local face of electricity (and electric bills). It is often blamed for rate hikes and power interruptions. The public doesn’t understand what really causes these problems, or what Meralco does to help. To increase customer satisfaction and trust despite rate increases and power fluctuations, we created the Meralco Advisory. It is the first and only news advisory in the world that helps customers understand their electricity bills, and presents information on what caused an increase or decrease in power rates. It also provides energy saving advice, safety tips, and other updates. It airs on TV during network news broadcasts every month supported by radio and print placements. Research shows Meralco Advisory dramatically increased the company's rating on trust and value for money. Now, more customers see Meralco in a better light. The show is now on its 26th episode and counting.

The Brief

The goal is to improve public perception. Meralco wants to be seen as not just another utility company but a company that cares for the welfare of its customers. The challenge is to raise awareness and understanding of the company’s continuous efforts to manage electricity rates and provide the best value-for-money services.

Results

Feedback from media and the public has been very positive. Because of the program's energy saving tips, more customers (who have seen the show from January 2014 to February 2015) now agree that Meralco is a company with a heart and offers more value for money. And because of its transparency in showing rate movements and causes, Meralco Advisory significantly improved the company’s trust rating. From 62% in May 2014, it jumped to 81% in February 2015.* Because of this, Meralco Advisory now has 26 episodes and still going strong. It has become not just a monthly report, but also a show of transparency that allows customers to see the company in a better light. *Source: Project Bright Dip 3 conducted by Millward Brown Philippines.

Execution

Following a standard news format, the Meralco Advisory announces the overall electricity rates for the month. As a show of transparency it reveals what caused the rate change even showing previously unnamed generation companies. It also shows when Meralco itself increased its charge (this happens only once a year). It also offers friendly advice to help consumers save on electricity. It is aired on major local channels during primetime spots, within the country’s top news programs with radio and print support. The date of airing is done before people receive their monthly electric bill.

The Situation

The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is the largest power distribution utility in the Philippines. This is just part of the whole supply chain. Other companies are responsible for power generation and transmission. Generation charges are often what brings electricity rates up or down. Shortage of power supply and downed transmission lines result in power fluctuations. Because Meralco collects the monthly bill that covers its distribution charge as well as the generation and transmission charges of these other separate entities, Meralco is considered by media and the public as the face of electricity and is blamed for anything electricity-related.

The Strategy

The main problem is misunderstanding. The solution is transparency. Shed light on the bill. Identify what caused an increase or decrease in the monthly rate. Provide information on what caused any power interruption and what is being done to address it. Partner this with helpful tips on how to save on electricity. Most importantly, air in the same news channels that are often the source of misunderstanding to hit two birds with one stone – customers AND media.

Credits

Name Company Position
Timmy M. Jayme DDB Philippines Chief Operations Officer
Katherine V. Arellano DDB Philippines Chief Business Integrator & Strategist
Bobby T. Vito DDB Philippines Creative Director
Shackie B. Caccam DDB Philippines Associate Creative Director
Jasmin S. Saldariega DDB Philippines Associate Creative Director
Kelvin E. Co DDB Philippines Art Director
Joy E. Mongado DDB Philippines Art Director
Bernice C. Reyes DDB Philippines Copywriter
Marnie C. Emralino DDB Philippines Account Supervisor
Rishi Mandhyan DDB Philippines Account Supervisor
Andre E. Figuracion DDB Philippines Senior Account Manager
Ivana T. Bito DDB Philippines Account Manager
Katrina C. Butiong DDB Philippines Account Coordinator
Carmina Gahol Agency Producer
Raul R. Redoblado DDB-PR Managing Partner
Tahl Gopez DDB-PR Group Account Director
Millet Liberato DDB-PR Media Relations Director
Maricar Angeles DDB-PR Content Development Director
Ringo Macabenta DDB-PR Senior Writer
Alan Vinluan DDB-PR Art Director