1980s

The 1980s saw such a growth rate in demand that generation and transmission resources were stretched. The arrival of Kinsale gas into Dublin and Cork brought strong competition in the home heating and cooking markets. A new approach to advertising was needed. Advertising in general was becoming more sophisticated and the biggest change was noticeable in television advertising. It was no longer enough to merely promote the product , television adverts now had to tell a story. The basic principal was to promote a brand image, sublimate a connection in the consumer’s mind with the product and your brand .

ESB’s advertising contract moved from O’Keeffe’s to Peter Owens Ltd. in 1986 and the Agency created some of the most memorable ESB television adverts ever made – ‘Father and Baby’, ‘Deb’s Dance’ and ‘Going Home’. The theme was one ESB was to use again and again – the invisible, always available, energy – electricity – echoed in the end-line ‘Electricity brings living to life’. New and vigorous advertising campaigns promoted everything from electric storage heating  to tumble driers, cookers and hot water . Tag lines were used extensively – THINKELECTRIC, PLANELECTRIC, HEATELECTRIC, COOKELECTRIC to emphasise the all-embracing qualities of the electric option.

New into ESB portfolio was the branded NightSaver concept to put a keener marketing edge to lower priced night-time electricity.  In order to encourage prompt payment the WINELECTRIC draw was introduced.

The mid 1980’s also saw a new approach to shop advertising . Hard hitting highly competitive advertising was prepared ESB for the competition from the electrical superstore and entry into the brown goods market.

As the 1980s drew to a close, energy efficiency was with us once again and a combination of environmental concerns and shrinking capacity was to colour the advertising campaigns in the early years of the following decade . And a new approach in ESB advertising and public relations came into being – sponsorship .

The ‘Going Home’ advert was first screened in December 1985 on RTE 1.

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