March 15 , 2002
Please Pass the Potatoes
Dynegy is hungry for your attention.
Dynegy's Chuck Watson never had much of an appetite for seeing his company's name in lights.
Those who needed to do business with Dynegy, formerly Natural Gas Clearinghouse, knew how to reach the company. That was good enough to build a Fortune 100 company. And it didn't matter if the general public continued to think of Dynegy as an over-the-counter cold medicine, or a balm for indigestion.
Over the past couple of years, though, there's been some unwanted attention. A few regulators, especially in California, learned that the company was one of those Texas-based energy marketers, gone west to rake in the profits. Often times, the West Coast regulators and legislators would mispronounce the company's name, calling it "Dynergy".
In a strategic shift, Dynegy hired Houston-based Fellers Marketing and Advertising to expand the company's brand awareness. They chose to launch a national advertising campaign that, at the very least, would teach the proper pronunciation of the company's name. The campaign started out in print and on billboards in the Houston area. But the big push came in October. That's when Dynegy co-sponsored the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship tournament in Houston.
The television spots premiered a couple weeks before the start of the golf tournament and then played during almost every commercial break of ABC-TV's broadcast of the prestigious event. In 30 seconds or less, Dynegy sought to bring senior executive types up to speed on what Dynegy does. After all, those execs might want to buy some energy someday.
Here's a look at the script in two of those high-octane television spots. In the first one, the Dynegy guy is standing in the store checkout line. He uses grocery items on the conveyor belt as props to demonstrate Dynegy's diversified business strategy to his buddy in line. But the Dynegy guy accidentally grabs the wrong cereal box.
LIGHTS, CAMERA ACTION - TAKE ONE TITLE: "CHECKOUT" SPOT#: DYNG0106
OTHER CUSTOMER: Hey Pat. How's work?
DYNEGY GUY: Dynegy's great. Got a call from an electric utility that's short of power. But they're up to their ears in coal. So, we bought their coal here, and marketed it there, generated electricity from Dynegy power plants here, here and here. More megawatts! And we got the power to them in time. We do that kind of stuff every day at Dynegy!
OTHER CUSTOMER: I believe this power plant belongs to me.
DYNEGY GUY: Right.
LIGHTS, CAMERA ACTION - TAKE TWO TITLE: "DINNER DEMO" SPOT#: DYNG0105
FRIEND AT TABLE: So, Jan how are things at Dynegy?
DYNEGY WOMAN: Well ... we're managing the gas supply for this electric utility in the Midwest, and we realize they had too much supply for the summer. So, we take their extra gas ... and we stored it in Chicago ... and then we generated electricity over here as their backup. Later we sold their gas down South. So everybody got what they needed. We do that kind of stuff every day at Dynegy!