Electrical Safety First launches new brand with Charley Says campaign

28 March 2014

Welcome to Electrial Safety First

Electrical Safety First launches today (28 March) after rebranding from the Electrical Safety Council, following a review of the charity’s mission and public-facing profile. 

The launch of the new brand – which exemplifies the charity’s strengthened consumer champion role and its closer campaigning work with industry and government – is being marked by a public safety campaign built on reviving the iconic Charley Says series, with David Walliams providing the voices.

Forster Communications has acted as the charity’s retained PR agency for the past five years and has helped to develop its strategic communications delivery through engaging consumer campaigns, digital tools, such as a smartphone app, Facebook campaign and online product recall checker, to ensure everyone can act on safety messages easily.

The more dynamic communications approach led to a review of the charity’s brand and development of the new identity: ‘Electrical Safety First – the UK’s electrical safety experts’. The organisation has represented trade professionals and educated the public on electrical safety for over 58 years. The rebrand marks a shift to a stronger campaigning voice to address the dangers posed by electricity. Currently, 350,000 people are seriously injured by the everyday use of electricity and at least one person dies each week.

Emma Apter, Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First said: “Our charity has a long association of championing consumer rights and leading industry best practice, but as our campaigns have become more dynamic and as we increasingly work to bring about change to regulation and industry practices, we knew that we needed to take a step back and redefine our ambition and values, to ensure that our name, our brand and our mission was in keeping with everything we do, and everything we want to be.

“Electrical Safety First may only have one word changed in its title, but there is so much that sits behind that new name in terms of clear values, messages and ambition. We look forward to the next stage of our charity’s strong and impactful history – we hope everyone enjoys and shares our new campaign, Charley Says.”

The first campaign for the new brand also launches today, with the hope that restoring the iconic cartoon characters from the Charley Says series, will take the new brand to a wider audience. The original Charley Says films were created by the government’s Central Office for Information and broadcast in the 1970s and 80s, with popular comedian of the day Kenny Everett voicing Charley the cat. It was voted the nation’s favourite public information film[i] and just as the original series warned children about such dangers as playing with matches or talking to strangers, the new films will advise the same audience – now adults – of the dangers of electricity in the home thanks to David Walliams giving the characters new voices.

The first new film sees Charley the cat preventing the young boy from plugging a toaster into an already overloaded plug socket, burning a paw in the process. In keeping with the tone of the original films, he is awarded a fish for his savvy behaviour. David Walliams takes over the mantle from Kenny Everett to give the characters their new voices.

Forster Communications is a specialist communications agency that builds brands with social purpose.

George Ames, Electrical Safety First Project Lead at Forster Communication said: “We have worked with the charity for five years and been with them as they have transformed to become a strong campaigning and trusted voice for consumers. It’s really exciting to be able to launch Electrical Safety First’s new brand with an engaging and shareable campaign like Charley Says. We hope that the nostalgia of the original films will draw attention to issues of electrical safety in a fun and memorable way. We hope that anyone who remembers the films from their childhood will want to watch and share our new videos.”

The first Charley Says video can be viewed at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/CharleySays


For more information: Libby or Rosie on electricalsafetyfirst@forster.co.uk or call 0207 403 2230

Notes to Editors:

  • Electrical Safety First is the UK charity dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents. We campaign to improve safety regulation and messages, and provide expert information and advice to the public and professionals to help ensure everyone in the UK can use electricity safely. Visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk for more information
  • Charley Says is Electrical Safety First’s first campaign following rebranding from the Electrical Safety Council and adheres to one of the charity’s core aims of reducing misuse of electrical products in the home
  • Charley Says was a series of short cut-out animated cartoon public information films for children, produced by the British government’s Central Office of Information and broadcast in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Footage from the original Charley Says films was secured through the National Archives with the permission of the British Film Institute and was re-mastered by video production company Brickwall who provided extra animation. The films were re mastered by scanning the original 35mm negatives into a digital format. The familiar elements of the original stop-frame animation were digitally manipulated into the new animations. New rigs, backgrounds, and even characters were created from scratch with paper and paint, based on the new scripts. A quote from Matt Davis, Account Director at Brickwall, is available on request.

                                                                                                                 [i] According to a poll by BBC Magazine of 25,000 readers to mark the 60th anniversary of the Central Office of Information: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4853042.stm