Recent events have driven unprecedented levels of creativity and agility within the marketing sector, with brand communications teams and agency creatives pivoting rapidly to deliver transformational digital campaigns to address an entirely new set of consumer needs.

As such, CRU (The Commission for Regulation of Utilities) has launched the first ever Google Home and Alexa centred AI campaign in Ireland, aligned to the roll out of its ‘Switch On to Savings, Rights and Safety’ communications campaign.

This unique digital activation involves the development of an app which effectively ‘trains’ smart home devices, namely Google Home and Alexa, to deliver specific responses to any consumer questions on the theme of savings, switching energy suppliers, energy safety and rights, whilst also driving awareness of the role of CRU, its services and guiding consumers to CRU branded information portals such as the CRU website and social media channels.

This ‘smart home conversation skill’ activation is the first of its kind to be developed and rolled out in Ireland by any organisation and was developed by the CRU in close collaboration with PR agency AMPLIFY@Drury Porter Novelli and Granite Digital.

The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities ‘Switch On’ campaign calls on the public to switch on to their rights, safety and savings as an energy consumer, and is fronted by long standing Campaign Ambassador Maia Dunphy. As part of a broader communications campaign, Maia will work closely with several high-profile Irish influencers to engage in an online challenge to see how much money they can save, by following the simple steps suggested by CRU. Over the coming weeks the influencer collaboration campaign will see participants using their smart home devices to put the CRU app to the test, when comparing costs from different Irish energy providers. The influencer campaign will roll out across Instagram, but will be amplified across all channels.

The way people are connecting with businesses through technology is constantly evolving. Surveys from 2019, found that  15% of Irish households now have smart speakers, while over 50% of Irish people are expected to own a smart speaker by 2023.  In further research, ComScore forecasts that over half of all search will be via voice by 2020, showing that voice is poised to become the next big channel for marketers.

With the disruptive effects of the pandemic currently dominating our daily lives CRU was forced to pivot its ‘Switch On’ campaign online. CRU Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Karl Richardson said “The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to stop in their tracks, quickly re-strategise, and change the ways in which they operate. Given how consumer behaviours to switching suppliers have been impacted due to Coivd, we are delighted to be the first to introduce this innovative AI technology and reach Irish consumers in a way that compliments their busy on and offline lifestyles and provide them with the information they need to switch on to savings, their right and safety.”

As Ireland’s independent energy and water regulator, the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is central in protecting Irish consumers’ energy savings, rights and safety, and wanted to scale the advice previously provided by its consultants.

Launching this latest digital activation, Nicky Crichton, Brand Communications Lead at AMPLIFY@DruryPN said “Like many brand communications agencies, we’re pushing boundaries and pivoting fast to ensure effective, impactful, digitally led solutions for our clients, and the campaign for CRU is one that we’re particularly excited about given that its first to market, and perfectly timed given the ever increasing use of in-home AI technology”

Ivan Adriel, Creative Strategy Director of Granite added “AI assistants are rapidly taking over consumers’ homes, soon to become the primary channel through which people get information, goods, and services. We were delighted to co-create this solution for CRU, anticipating the future and exploring a striking new opportunity for connection between brand & consumers.”

Switch On To CRU is now available on all Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices in Ireland. To start a conversation simply use the prompts below:

Google: Hey Google, start Switch with CRU


Amazon: Alexa, start Switch on CRU.

To find out more about CRU visit

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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