Channel the frustration – into energy savings

Client: Vectren

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. We created a series of ads around the tagline “Avoid Bad Bill Reaction” 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 helped Vectren make quite an impact – energy savings jumped up, and so did Vectren’s J.D. Power score.

Client Challenge

Foster customer goodwill via energy efficiency programs – and a different approach to messaging that would overcome the tendency of customers everywhere to blame their utility for high bills.

Shelton Strategy

Instead of taking the usual utility tact (tell customers they’re lucky to have some of the lowest rates in the nation), we wondered what would happen if the utility admitted they know the problem – many of their customers get 12 unpleasant surprises a year – and then stepped up to help change things. Avoid Bad Bill Reaction was born.

Critical Tactics

  • Print Ads
  • Digital
  • Outdoor

The Payoff

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 placed 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.

By the end of the campaign, 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. The kicker: Vectren’s J.D. Power score jumped 25 points from #12 in the Midwest to #8 in just one year.

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.