CAMPAIGN: Public Awareness - SRP casts light on AZ energy issues

Client: Salt River Project, SRP (Arizona)

PR Team: Cramer-Krasselt

Campaign: SRP Energy-Saving Solutions

Time Frame: June 7, 2000 - mid-August

Budget: $50,000



Last summer, while California was facing a highly publicized energy

crisis resulting in rolling blackouts and roiling citizens, Arizona was

facing its own power crunch. In past years, Salt River Project (SRP),

one of the state's largest utilities, had commissioned advertising and

traditional public relations campaigns to educate people about

energy-efficient living during the broiling summer months. But with the

mercury rising on this issue, the company decided to hire

Cramer-Krasselt to add value to its push.



Strategy



Arizona residents had to be educated to conserve energy during peak

hours of the day by limiting the use of major appliances. But C-K wanted

to avoid the serious, preachy tone of traditional campaigns. The company

also wanted to emphasize that, contrary to popular belief, one person

can really make a difference in energy consumption, rather than focusing

on the mass-market approach of years past. "We also saw the opportunity

to go directly to the consumers through guerrilla marketing," says Lisa

Noble, C-K's VP and director of PR.



Tactics



The two-stage campaign started on June 7, when SRP and C-K unleashed

walking, talking, spending household appliances on an unsuspecting

public.



Brrrad the air conditioner, Peter the pool pump, Wash and Wear (the

married washer-and-dryer couple), and Plexie Glass the window all

traveled around Phoenix, throwing cash around and spreading the message

of wasteful appliance usage in an entertaining way. The hapless electric

meter, Gauge, was the only one who worked hard.



The anthropomorphic appliances descended upon a Starbucks and bought

everyone a frappacino. They swarmed into Bank One Ball-park, home of the

Arizona Diamondbacks, and paid for hot dogs. They also went to SRP's own

cafeteria and hit the offices of some of the company's business

customers.



The characters were featured in TV and print advertising as well.



Beginning June 18, the appliances appeared on local TV morning shows and

radio programs, and were interviewed by print media. "We then combined

the fun messages with the serious message," Noble explains. "We teamed

them up with spokespeople from the company and sent the appliances out

with key messages."



Results



An estimated 125,000 people saw the SRP appliances visit 51 high-traffic

locations throughout the Phoenix area. The PR teams collected comments

by people who watched the appliance antics, which included, "See, he's

wasting money," and, "I've seen you on TV."



The campaign also garnered more than 130 minutes of airtime in broadcast

media, including an in-studio segment on Channel 3's Good Morning

Arizona, a six-minute live segment on KPHO-TV's morning show, and a

three-minute segment on Ted Simon's KMXP morning radio show. The

appliances also appeared on Channel 3's kids show Brainstorm.



The print placements included a marketing brief in The Business Journal,

and a story about energy conservation in The Arizona Republic.



Awareness for the campaign was 21% higher over the previous year. "And

we didn't run out of energy this summer," says Noble.



Future



C-K is already thinking about next summer's campaign, and now has more

time to plan it, as the PR component was more of an afterthought in

2001.



The animated appliances are slated for a comeback. The company and PR

team also plan to take the campaign to the next level by joining up with

Sears and other retailers to do point-of-sale promotions to educate

people about buying energy-efficient appliances.



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