The power and the glory: What’s My Number takes ad effectiveness to new heights

One of the surprises of the Effie awards was not seeing DrafFCB and The Electricity Authority’s What’s My Number campaign up on the podium. Turns out it was ineligible for this year’s competition because of the dates it ran, but it looks set to be a shoo in for next year, because you don’t get much more effective than a campaign that ends up influencing the nation’s interest and inflation rates. 

As a result of the campaign, 87,000 switched power companies in June and July, which was up 49 percent on the same period last year, and as of today, around 420,000 calculations had been made on the site. According to an article that ran in The Dominion Post last week, Statistics New Zealand said the campaign helped keep inflation and interest rates down, with “the lowest increase in inflation in five quarters and half the increase that the market was expecting”.

“Statistics NZ said the cost of rent, rates, insurance and food had risen in the three months, but the market was caught out by a fall in other household bills that had consistently risen in the past decade. Electricity prices dropped 0.3 per cent in the September quarter, only the third time in the past 40 quarters that retail prices fell.”

Communications costs and petrol prices also contributed to the lower than expected consumer price index figures.

When we talked with DraftFCB’s planning director David Thomason in August, he said the campaign had smashed all expectations and he was amazed at how quickly some of the power companies responded (Contact dropped its prompt payment price from 12 to 22 percent and acknowledged the campaign was the main reason for it, while Mercury came up with the Name My Number site).

“I suspect that most of the power companies didn’t think it was going to do anything,” he says.

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“[The reason people weren’t switching] was all about apathy, so we had to make it simple and fun, not rational,” he says. As such, the post-it notes on foreheads was an appropriate platform to get people interested and check out the site (Powershop even used one on Che Geuvara’s head).

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