Branding i en klimatid: Et casestudie af DONG Energys brand-kommunikation i et postmoderne samfund

Astrid Klarskov Larsen & Kristine Schaumann Wellendorf

Student thesis: Master thesis


The master’s thesis examines market communication within the energy business and the communicative challenges, which energy-producing companies face as the world’s attention is increasingly drawn to climate change and environmental problems. The thesis is designed as a case study of two TV commercials produced in 2004 and 2008 by the Danish, half-public owned energy group, DONG Energy. The thesis employs two theoretical frameworks. Firstly, sociological macro theories about postmodernism and the social characteristics of the postmodern society are used to set the tone for the social conditions, under which communicative players as DONG Energy work. Secondly, the thesis employs micro-level theories concerning semiotics, rhetoric and branding as tools in an in-depth case analysis of the two TV commercials from DONG Energy. By way of introduction, the development in the world’s climate is examined to establish an understanding of the current environmental situation and increased focus on global warming, which a company such as DONG Energy needs to consider. The analysis shows that the commercial from 2004 communicates DONG Energy’s qualifications as an energy supplier through an entertaining and innovative symbiosis of football and drum rhythms. The second commercial from 2008 tells a different story about DONG Energy as an eco-friendly and responsible company, who work for the preservation of the Danish nature for future generations. Both films follow the new line within branding, corporate branding, by communicating values, which the consumer can use in his or her own identity project. However, the analysis proves that the values communicated do not correspond to the postmodern values of today’s consumers. The thesis concludes that the first commercial is suitable for the postmodern consumer in the way it is performed, but the communicated values do not match the target group. In contrast, the theme of the second commercial is one close to the postmodern consumer’s heart, but the long, and sometimes explicated performance could leave some out in the cold. Based on the analysis, it is concluded that, in a comparison of the two commercials, DONG Energy’s image is unclear. Due to the stark contrast between the two commercials, where both theme and performance are concerned, DONG Energy’s brand position is ultimately vague. According to DONG Energy, however, consumers have positively received the company’s latest commercial. In a broader perspective, one could argue that an appropriate environmental topic undermines the theoretical postmodern marketing directions, which might, then, be reconsidered.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages167