Sun and Moon Play off Each Other in Fun New Spots
TXU Energy has been an agency client of The Richards Group since May 2011. In the summer of 2012, TXU Energy debuted a new residential electricity plan called Free Nights, which gave plan members a $0.00 energy charge between the hours of 10pm and 6am. TRG created the now familiar campaign starring Alex Ashbaugh as the spokesperson, encouraging customers to sign up for the plan.
Texas has its own energy grid (managed by ERCOT), and the largest wind power contribution to the grid. Free Nights was a way to utilize that wind power that is predominantly generated at night and can’t be stored for future use. It was a Win Win for TXU and its consumers, to help with load on the grid and simultaneously allowed Texans to cool their homes down during the hot Texas evenings so they can “sleep cool and comfortable.” Consumers kept their thermostats set a little higher during the day to ease grid pressures and reduce their own electricity costs when they’re away from home.
The latest campaign, “Free Nights & Solar Days,” spearheaded by TRG’s Creative Group Heads Bill Cochran and Patrick Murray, adds characters of the Sun and the Moon to further explain the energy plan. Ashbaugh has been the TXU Energy spokesperson since Richards cast him in the role in 2012. This summer, they will partner him with two new characters – the Sun (played by Andrew Hawtrey) and the Moon (played by Mike C. Nelson) in a series of comedic spots for Free Nights & Solar Days.
We asked Bill Cochran, Creative Director at The Richards Group, a few questions about the campaign, its history and why TRG decided to go with the Sun and Moon characters..
AdChat DFW: What was the name/s of the former campaign? Free Nights?
Bill C: TXU had offered Free Nights before under a variety of campaigns. And Free Nights and Solar Days was initially launched last summer, but we did not use The Sun and The Moon “spokespeople” until now.
AdChat DFW: Why did you decide to add those characters?
Bill C: It’s a great promotion. Your electricity is 100% free all night, and during the day your energy comes from 100% solar. But – it takes a little bit of explaining, and we often only have a short time to get our message across. So, we came up with the idea that it would be an energy plan that everyone would love – including the Sun and the Moon. We figured the Sun and Moon could actually have a lot of fun ways to interact while also explaining the campaign. They can each sing each other’s praises in such a way that a normal spokesperson can’t.
AdChat DFW: Do you think consumers relate to actors playing inanimate objects like the Sun and Moon?
Bill C: We wanted people to clearly understand the TXU plan, and we knew that if we could make our customers smile at the same time that’d be a big win. We put a lot of thought and energy into casting our characters to find actors with great comedic timing who were likable. We also wanted their “outfits” to be different than what people might’ve seen before, so we built large fiberglass orbs and added some movement and glow to make them feel more “out of this world.” So, in short, yes, we think customers can related to this Sun and this Moon because they’re likable, fun, and unique.
Check out the spots…
Agency: The Richards Group and Richards/Lerma (Spanish), both Dallas
Client: TXU Energy
Campaign: Free Nights & Solar Days
Creative Group Heads: Bill Cochran, Patrick Murray
Brand Management: Andy Alexander, Chloe Jamerson, Dean Hensley, Alissa Fono
Production: Tool, Los Angeles
Director: Sean Ehringer
Editorial: Charlie Uniform Tango