Washington Gas Light Company


Consumer Education Campaign

Marketing Challenge

As the largest energy provider of natural gas in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, Washington Gas has an ongoing need to educate its more than 1 million customers about how to use clean, efficient natural gas. Specifically, the utility has a need to promote its year-round energy efficiency programs that provide energy saving tips and energy assistance, optional monthly payment plans, and ongoing emergency advertising notices. The goal is to increase brand awareness and communications among its diverse customer base.

Strategic Solution

SRB Communications developed print advertisements in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Thai, Chinese and Korean and placed the ads in The Washington Post and various community newspapers as part of ongoing advertising and marketing campaigns. We recommended targeted media plans and approaches that leverage production of print advertisements and radio commercials for media buying and placement throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. We are the Emergency Advertising and Ethnic Outreach national agency of record. We develop and implement ongoing integrated multimedia awareness campaigns targeted to the general market and diverse ethnic market.

Consumer Awareness Campaign

The Washington Gas Consumer Awareness Campaign educates customers on how to use natural gas safely, how to prepare your home for winter, and also educate customers about the Washington Area Fuel Fund.

SRB Communications assisted Washington Gas in educating customers about how to use natural gas safely by producing and placing radio spots in English and Spanish and print advertisements that provided tips such as replacing the air filter in your furnace every month, checking that the burners on your stove are producing an even, blue flame, and making sure that your vents, chimneys, fireplaces, and ovens are free from obstructions and debris. The advertisements also provide contact information and alert customers that Washington Gas will dispatch a technician to a location any time of the day or night to keep families safe, secure and warm.

The Winter Preparedness radio spots produced in English and Spanish within the Consumer Awareness Campaign offered customers energy saving tips that ultimately saves customers money. These radio spots offered tips such as changing or cleaning your furnace air filters once a month, caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows, turning the water heater down to A LOWER setting, and to consider using cold water for your laundry. These radio spots also brought customer awareness to the Washington Gas Budget Plan. The Budget Plan makes it possible for eligible customers to spread the cost of winter heating over the entire year.

Finally, The Consumer Awareness Campaign also included radio spots and print advertisements that inform customers about the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF). Washington Gas created WAFF with The Salvation Army more than 30 years ago, to help the most vulnerable families seek assistance finding the financial resources to heat their homes, who are going through tough economic times and a long, cold winter and overwhelming challenges. The fund relies on customer tax-deductible contributions to help eligible residents pay for the basic necessity of warmth – no matter what type of fuel they use. The Fund is the last safety net when government assistance is no longer available. These ads call on able customers to donate by pledging a monthly amount or checking the donation box on their gas bill.

Customer Choice Campaign

The Washington Gas Customer Choice Campaign educates customers on their choices when purchasing their natural gas needs. SRB Communications produced and placed radio spots in English and Spanish, newspaper advertisements and online banner ads. The ads explain how Washington Gas has provided safe and reliable natural gas service to its homes and businesses at a reasonable cost. District of Columbia residents are eligible to participate in Customer Choice, a voluntary program that could potentially save customers money by giving the option to continue buying natural gas from Washington Gas or to choose an alternate licensed energy supply company. Because Washington Gas is a regulated utility, they must charge customers what it pays for the natural gas supply used and prices can fluctuate monthly. The Customer Choice plan allows customers to shop around and compare prices and decide what’s best for them and even if a customer decides to purchase their natural gas from another supply company, Washington Gas will continue to deliver their gas safely and reliably and respond to natural gas emergencies around the clock.

Spring and Fall Safety Campaign

Washington Gas tasked SRB Communications to design and place print advertisements for its Spring and Fall Safety Campaigns in five languages. These ads contain important information on what to do if you smell natural gas and provide emergency Washington Gas contact information, information on how to recognize a natural gas leak, and how to react and respond. The ad explains that natural gas is non-toxic, colorless, odorless and combustible. For safety and detection, Washington Gas adds an unpleasant odorant called mercaptan to the natural gas delivered through most of its distribution system. It also instructs customers what to do and what not to do when you do detect a natural gas leak. Additionally, the Spring and Fall Safety ads instruct customers to call Miss Utility before any digging on any property to prevent pipeline damage that can cause natural gas leaks so that pipe lines can be marked before digging.