Right Sentiment, Wrong Execution for British Gas


It’s very easy to look at the British Gas Twitter fiasco and condemn it as an outright disaster from start to finish… British Gas ask for customer feedback after announcing that it will be raising bills by 10% at a time when consumers are already penny pinching and worrying about the costs of heating this winter. So begins the avalanche of vitriolic comments from the Twittersphere, many of which were comedy gold.

British gas look very silly. And greedy.

So case closed, they won’t be doing that again.

But hang on…. essentially the sentiment and the reasons for doing the Tweet-in were right: British Gas should be part of the conversation and should be actively listening to what customers have to say.

Where this all falls down is the execution, which is woefully inadequate.  The Tweet-in should have been accompanied by video content form the CEO and other strands of content that explain the price rise to customers from the perspective of British Gas. To have the Tweet in as a stand-alone, unsupported piece of activity seems throwaway in relation to the scale of the announcement.

In addition, having a Tweet-in alone didn’t allow British Gas to build a case and adequately explain the price hike. They’ve brought a knife to a gunfight.

BG and other brands need to learn from this and consider the planning required to deal effectively with problematic announcements through social to avoid getting their fingers burned.

Olly Honess is a Senior Account Manager for social agency @cubaka.