The client was unhappy.

Their previous agency left them with low program awareness and participation rates for their residential audits, and their customer base was tuning out the dry marketing materials as a result.

This typically conservative utility was now open to doing something different. To ditch the technical jargon. To humanize the brand with playfulness and a dash of drama . . . even though we were doing direct mail.

For only $50, Columbia Gas of Ohio customers receive a four-hour comprehensive home energy audit (valued at $500) and a customized report with next steps. A quick phone call is all it takes to have a trained auditor at your door to handle the rest. It’s the stuff of modern-day, energy-saving superheroes.

After we pitched them a wide range of ideas, the client program team asked their corporate communications team for initial feedback. They wanted to know if any of the ideas felt like something Columbia Gas would do; if any matched current materials in the market.

We waited what felt like ages for their response.

“No,” the corporate communications lead answered. “It doesn’t. And that’s a good thing, because this is exactly what we need right now.”

Fresh off that win, we tailored the direct mailers based on three target audiences identified by marketing intelligence: the philanthropists, the environmentally conscious and the comfort seekers.

The folded mailer was an unforgettable departure from anything the natural gas utility had done previously. The tone was playful and approachable. The look and feel was modern and aspirational. Every last detail crafted to resonate with that specific segment.

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The team: Sean Armstrong, senior copywriter // Christina Meisner, art director