British Gas partners with Professor Green to encourage people to speak up about energy debt and seek free support from the British Gas Energy Trust
4 in 10 households will struggle to pay their next energy bill, yet 61% of people are unaware that financial support services exist for household debt1. The “Stop the Silence” campaign aims to change that by raising awareness of the help available through the British Gas Energy Trust - an independent charitable organisation founded in 2004 by British Gas to support those facing financial hardship and energy debt.
The campaign from nucleus, the integrated agency group responsible for all British Gas communications, is led by an emotive film created with award winning director Geej Ower. The story is based on real conversations the British Gas Energy Trust has with the people it supports on a daily basis.
At the centre of the narrative is Rob - a single dad silently struggling with the emotional impact of not being able to pay his bills. He chooses to not confide his problems with the loved ones that surround him and instead puts on a brave face. The film takes the audience on a journey from a life full of noise, colour and activity to one much quieter, duller and more subdued as our protagonist switches off lights and appliances, to save energy, until he’s finally sat alone in complete silence - a consequence of his situation and isolation from support.
In the final scene, however, Rob receives a call back from the British Gas Energy Trust offering him the possibility of a different, more positive future. This is echoed in the final narration, voiced by Professor Green, which encourages the viewer not to suffer in silence and to reach out to the charity for support if they’re in need of help.
“We wanted to capture in a nuanced way, the all too common situation of a man struggling to cope with rising energy bills. It was important to us that the film portrays the situation many people are currently going through, without ratifying the stereotypes attached with financial hardship. The film does so in two ways: first by acknowledging the sacrifices and isolation individuals facing fuel poverty can experience, and second by showcasing that the first step to help is to talk about it.” Micky Tudor, Chief Creative Officer, nucleus.
As well as lending his voice to the hero film the campaign spokesperson, Professor Green, shares his own experience of growing up in Hackney with his grandmother who regularly had to make the difficult choice between paying the bills and eating a hot meal.
“As more people face the struggles of fuel poverty for the first time, it is essential for us to not only fund the amazing work of the British Gas Energy Trust, but also bring it to the attention of a wider audience who may not know support is available. Too often we’ve found that people who are struggling don’t know the resources out there, which is why this poignant film and the other elements of the campaign are so important to raise awareness.” Americo Lenza, Customer Experience and Marketing Director, British Gas Energy.
The campaign is launching from the 4th of May and will feature in cinema, radio and digital media. It marks the second large-scale campaign highlighting the work the British Gas Energy Trust does, following the ‘You’re Not Alone’ campaign in late last year, also developed by nucleus.