The E Source Utility Ad Awards Contest is the energy industry’s largest and most comprehensive ad campaign competition, attracting hundreds of entries each year.

Our goal with the contest is to recognize and reward creative excellence in utility advertising. We accomplish this by selecting a team of independent internal and external judges to review and select ad finalists based on ad effectiveness, objectives, message, visual design, and innovation.

To celebrate the upcoming launch of this year’s contest, we’re highlighting winners from 2022 in a series of blog posts. In this post, we’re featuring the best campaigns in two categories:

  • Safety
  • Home energy management and smart home

Utilities can submit their advertising campaigns through E Source Energy AdVision, the only collection of thousands of utility advertising campaigns available in the industry with detailed background information on media type, campaign strategy, ad placement, intended audience, tracking methods, and results.

Safety campaign

Our safety category celebrates utilities that demonstrate creativivity while educating customers about the importance of safety when digging, during outages, and more.

First place: Southern Company Gas with “No Diggity”

Southern Company Gas’s “No Diggity” Safe Digging Campaign won first place for its witty parody spreading awareness around digging safety. According to Southern Company Gas, “nearly 25% of damages occur as a result of not calling 811 before beginning excavation.” In honor of National 811 Day, the utility “created the ultimate safety remix” by writing a new version of the popular R&B hit “No Diggity” by Blackstreet (figure 1). Southern Company Gas even partnered with a member of the group, Chauncey Black!

The campaign was Southern Company Gas’s largest social media interaction to date, resulting in:

  • More than 440,000 total reach
  • More than 100,000 video views
  • More than 8,000 actions (likes, comments, and shares) taken

Figure 1: Southern Company Gas shared campaign details for its special National 811 Day message with “No Diggity”

A representative from Southern Company Gas accepted the award at E Source Forum 2022 and highlighted the utility’s successful campaign.
Southern Company Gas speaking at the Forum

Members of the E Source Corporate Communications Service can read more details about Southern Gas Company’s “No Diggity” campaign via Energy AdVision.

Second place: SoCalGas with “It’s Good to Ask Questions”

SoCalGas launched the It’s Good to Ask Questions campaign as part of its annual safety efforts, winning second place in our contest. The campaign used fun and colorful ads to remind contractors, excavators, and homeowners about the important questions they should be asking before digging (figure 2).

The campaign had impressive results, including:

  • More than 7 million impressions
  • More than 32,700 clicks to the safety landing page

Figure 2: SoCalGas’s creative ads reminded its audience to ask questions and stay safe

SoCalGas’s advertisement ran for eight consecutive weeks and reached much of its target audience.
SoCalGas’s advertisement for safe digging

Members of the Corporate Communications Service can read more details about SoCalGas’s It’s Good to Ask Questions campaign via Energy AdVision.

Home energy management and smart home campaign

The home energy management and smart home category celebrates utilities that highlight the ways customers can save energy while at home thanks to advances in technology and the beneficial programs utilities offer.

First place: PNM with “2021 PNM Energy Efficiency Programs”

We awarded PNM first place for its 2021 PNM Energy Efficicency Programs campaign. The campaign raised awareness about the ways the utility can help its customers become more energy efficient. The campaign worked to come across as comical and relatable (figure 3). Launching amid the COVID-19 pandemic, PNM’s campaign showcased “mask-wearing, social distancing, and other parameters to ensure that customers felt like they could still participate in the programs in a safe, convenient, and easy way.”

The campaign results surpassed expectations, delivering:

  • More than 2 million digital impressions
  • More than 100,000 video views
  • A 2% increase in year-over-year program awareness

Figure 3: PNM shared results from its impressive “2021 PNM Energy Efficiency Programs campaign”

During the session “Excellence in utility advertising: Empowering the Sustainable Utility,” Sabrina Davis-McMeans described the utility’s campaign strategy.
PNM accepting its award at the Forum

Members of the Corporate Communications Service can read more details about the 2021 PNM Energy Efficicency Programs campaign via Energy AdVision.

Second place: TVA with “EnergyRight Scary Good”

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) won second place for its spooky approach to helping customers save energy at home. TVA’s ads “exaggerated scenarios highlighting common issues where a homeowner might be ‘scared’ of their home and need advice” (figure 4).

The campaign resonated with audiences and resulted in:

  • More than 1 million views on YouTube and Facebook
  • More than 750,000 paid media impressions
  • More than 8,000 page views
  • More than 40 new home-energy evaluations

Figure 4: TVA’s “Scary Good” video

One of TVA’s award-winning ads stars an energy-savvy attic monster.

Members of the Corporate Communications Service can read more details about TVA’s EnergyRight Scary Good campaign via Energy AdVision.

Contributing Authors

Senior Product Strategist, Marketing and Communications

Hailey Gish is an experienced marketing and communications strategist. Her expertise includes brand building, conversion optimization, B2B social...