Hydro One is Ontario’s primary electricity distributor, responsible for transmitting 98% of Ontario’s power. When we were engaged to help find its purpose, one of the key desired outcomes was a perception-shift for this brand which had become synonymous with the dreaded monthly electricity bill. So we designed a campaign and made a film to introduce the caring and committed people behind the power.
It began as a standard Purpose project for Hydro One, the largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider in Canada. The Ontario-based company had become publicly traded the year before, in 2015, and its leadership sought out Purpose to help guide and, in many ways, shape the identity of this newly public brand. Because there was another challenge they faced: Hydro One had an image problem.
For those of you who don’t know, Canada is very big, and very cold. Its population clusters on the southern border and then sprawls across vast landscapes. To disseminate power across these expanses through winter storms and other plights of the northern wilderness is not cheap. And while there are several players involved in this feat, Hydro One is the name that goes on the high bill.
So once we excavated the Purpose line — “Turn on the power of possibility” — customer perception was the first task to take on. We designed an external-facing campaign called Flip the Switch, and one of its primary aims was to remind people that Hydro One is not a faceless bill collector, but a company of many faces, many Ontarians, all committed to the monumental (and pricey) task of keeping the power on for their neighbors — and doing a darn good job at it.
“This is Hydro One” was the film we made to answer this need. Designed to put some faces to the name and some context to the costs, it’s a pairing of the close-up humanity of the company and animated graphics of statistics that make them particularly proud. The result — which was distributed throughout Ontario through television and online — is below.