Sometimes on Convo we challenge companies, discuss breaking news or launch a new campaign. Other times we like to talk about more unusual aspects of consumer life. Get ready for some energy company poetry.
Do you like it when companies show a sense of humour? We’ve all seen tongue-in-cheek marketing campaigns designed to show that the company is warm, human, caring.
This train of thought was set in motion when I saw the oddest, quirkiest Valentine’s Day campaign this year – the Energy Ombudsman wrote an anti-Valentine poem for the energy companies.
‘I admit that it appalled me
That day you first cold-called me.’
It’s a stinging opening, which was followed by a sad story of disillusionment as our hypothetical, poetical customer gradually fell out of love with his energy company after poor treatment.
Energy companies do like to try
Broken hearts all round, of course, but the cheeky staff in the Eon and Npower marketing departments obviously didn’t want to let their lost love go so quickly.
Eon replied with a heart-warming call for a second chance:
‘But I tell you what I’m going to try
I’m not ready for you to say goodbye…
Together we’ll work to reduce and to save
I’ll make improvements with the feedback you gave.’
OK, perhaps not heart-warming, but a very nice way to join in the discussion without looking like a corporate killjoy. Npower came through with a rhyme of its own:
‘It’s really hard and galling
when people say that we’re appalling.
We want our service to be great
And we know that people hate
it when they find their bills are wrong
And being on hold for long.’
Opinions in the Which? offices have been divided. Some have giggled and enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek response from companies that usually stick to straight-faced press releases.
Others have rolled their eyes and complained that it’s a far too obvious ploy to win the hearts of consumers – people like poetry, they like humour, and this is a cynical attempt to get people to share your press releases.
With my greatest apologies
I’m a sucker for rambling poetry
For roses, and romance, and rhyme
But will I be heard if I say it’s absurd
For a press team to pen their own line?
I might just be too darn romantic
Or perhaps I’m a corporate girl
But while couples can couplet I think it’s too much
When a company gives it a whirl.
Then again it’s quite nice for a business
To show that they’re humans as well.
Who am I to decry their quite valiant try?
Do we care that they’re trying to sell?
So with the sound of my heroine, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, spinning in her grave – what do you think? Is it nice when companies show a human side, and let loose with a sense of humour? Or do you think they (me included) should avoid things that are too jokey? Bonus points if you can come up with some better rhymes than me.