Vectren: Avoid Bad Bill Reaction

The Challenge

Vectren brought Shelton Group on board to build its brand. They wanted their million+ customers to like them – a lot – and they thought a new emphasis on their energy efficiency programs would help. We couldn’t agree more: Vectren’s blue-collar customer base could really connect with the right money-saving message.

The Insight

Most utility customers get 12 unpleasant surprises a year – and Vectren’s were no different. They felt their bills were too high and blamed the utility. Most utilities try to address that by telling customers they’re lucky to have a utility with some of the lowest rates in the nation. That doesn’t exactly engender good feelings between customers and their utility. What if the utility admitted that they know this stuff is expensive and surprising – and they’re here to help make that different?

The Solution

That’s how we came up with “Avoid Bad Bill Reaction.” Around this tagline, we created a series of ads that captured all the frustration and horror utility customers feel moments after opening the monthly bill. The premise? Vectren knows what its customers are feeling and wants to help them avoid the monthly shock.

The campaign drew customers in with a relatable scenario – plus a healthy dose of humor and transparency – that no one expected to see in a utility ad. Then it followed up with prescriptive steps to help them take control of energy costs. To pack even more power into the punch, we stationed ads in family restaurant bathroom stalls, on grocery store carts and on gas station pump toppers to drive home the point that Vectren could help them help their budget.

The campaign had a clear impact: 68% of Vectren’s customers could recall a specific rebate program or tip unaided, and, more importantly, they took action and participated in rebate programs. Vectren’s J.D. Power Score jumped 25 points from #12 in the Midwest to #8 in just one year.

point jump in J.D. Power score


increase in program website traffic


of therm savings goal achieved

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Employee Email

Grocery Store

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