Ameren Missouri: Smile, Missouri

The Challenge

Ameren Missouri had big goals – and they needed a big idea to get them accomplished. They needed to realize 843,000 MWh in total efficiency savings over three years, so they asked Shelton Group to create a comprehensive marketing plan and creative campaign that would move their customers to recycle appliances and tune up or upgrade their HVAC systems.

The Insight

The utility’s existing messaging about energy efficiency rebates wasn’t making any waves: it was a generic message about saving money, hidden underneath layers of unnecessary program branding. Plus, the website for energy efficiency programs was hard to navigate.

Customers needed to know rebates were time-sensitive and easy to apply for – and that additional efficiency savings made the deal irresistible. To get this message across, Ameren Missouri needed a clear and compelling campaign concept, plus a zero-hassle Web interface to convert site visitors.

The Solution

Our campaign idea – called “Smile, Missouri” – was friendly, motivational and clear, creating a sense of urgency about program participation and playing up the immediate benefits. We used an iconic illustration style to reinforce the idea that participating in Ameren Missouri’s programs was simple and easy.

We also redesigned Ameren Missouri’s Web interface for key programs, making the pages more visually engaging and ensuring registration would be quick and seamless.

The final piece of the puzzle was direct mail, which was segmented so that targeted customers would get information about the programs they’d be most likely to participate in and would hear the messaging that resonated most.

Ameren Missouri saw results immediately. Traffic soared on the energy efficiency program rebates page, more than doubling the previous year’s numbers, and in the campaign’s first month alone, weekly pickups for fridge recycling more than tripled (from 88 to 300). In 2014, they saw a 34% increase in total HVAC improvements over 2013.

Over the multi-year course of the campaign, we coordinated promotions, messaging and timing between utility partners and program implementers to ensure that we picked even high-hanging fruit.

By 2015, our strategic focus drove program participation to all-time highs, and Ameren Missouri topped their three-year, 843,000-MWh energy savings goal by 41%. The campaign also drove an increase in the utility’s J.D. Power scores.


Over energy savings goal of 843,000 MWh

4x higher
Banner ad click-through rate compared to industry standards
Up to 5x higher
Video click-through rate compared to industry standards

TV Commercials


Free Standing Insert


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