Gas Network Ireland – Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

Business in the Community Ireland

Gas Networks Ireland owns, operates and maintains the natural gas network in Ireland.



What was the Opportunity

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is an annual awareness week run by Gas Networks Ireland. The aim of the week is to increase awareness of carbon monoxide amongst all adults nationally, encourage people to take preventative action against carbon monoxide, and ultimately decrease incidents related to carbon monoxide nationwide.

Business in the Community Ireland

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless gas that is very difficult to detect so educating people about the dangers of the deadly gas, and how they can protect themselves, is crucial.  Without such measures the outcome of exposure can be deadly.

We believed that the opportunity lay in developing a campaign that created an emotional connection with the issue and that in doing so we would raise awareness and motivate people to take the preventative measures.

A challenge we faced was while people are generally aware of carbon monoxide, many do not know the causes, and there are common misperceptions about the gas. For example, it’s caused only by burning natural gas when in actual fact it can be caused by any fuel that burns. We were tasked with educating the general public on the facts and dangers of the ‘silent killer’.

Another challenge was that 2016 marked the fifth annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and as with any campaign which runs over a long period, it can be a challenge to keep it fresh and engaging. Cut through is important to combat campaign fatigue.

The campaign involves a number of stakeholders – organisations across the energy sector and related industries, as well as safety and public health bodies. Ensuring buy-in and support from these groups and equipping them with materials was an important factor in the campaign to achieve national cut-through.

What was Achieved

We worked with approx 50 stakeholder groups to secure campaign buy-in and alignment of messaging.  Each group was given key messages and a detailed social media schedule to adapt for use.  It worked well and resulted in one group – Dublin Fire Brigade – running a competition on social media which increased engagement.

In addition emails/letters with CO information were sent to every TD and County Council manager in the country.

Post campaign research, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes, showed:

  • Almost two thirds of all adults heard of the initiative following the campaign. Increased national awareness from 40% to 62%
  • Key messages widely relayed in the post-campaign research.
  • Six in ten surveyed post campaign claimed to take some action as a result of the campaign itself be it make a mental note to get chimney swept or actually book in a boiler service or buy an alarm.

Top Tip

Having such strong ambassadors and a layering of digital activity really added a freshness to the campaign and providing a comprehensive briefing and materials ‘bible’ to stakeholders ensured we maximised reach.