Since 1992, National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), an organization that promotes the use of enviro-friendly vehicles, has trained more than 7,000 alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) technicians for the US government, academic institutions, and private industry.
In 2002, NAFTC began hosting the biennial National AFV Day Odyssey, which strives to educate the public about AFVs and increase their use in order to reduce dependence on foreign energy and damage to the environment.
Among the 60 locations across the US, Canada, and Germany for Odyssey Day 2006, the kickoff in Arlington, VA, took on special significance and focus because of its proximity to the nation's capital. It offered the opportunity "to say thanks to the federal grant support" NAFTC receives, says GolinHarris EVP Mike Fulton. Golin, which has worked with NAFTC since its inception, assisted with government relations and media outreach around the event.
For the previous Odyssey Days, NAFTC contacted members of Congress to introduce a resolution to recognize the event. For 2006, a proposition to the Senate made by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) declaring October 12 National Fuel Vehicle Day passed with the support of 25 senators. "It gave a lot of credibility to NAFTC, the Odyssey Day event, and the individual centers," says Fulton. Media outreach was both national and local, with community outlets like BackFence.com used to reach area residents. NAFTC also used its contacts in trade groups like the Natural Gas Association to generate excitement.
The effort reached 30 million people with coverage that included Fox News. Nearly 40,000 people were in attendance at the US sites, making it the largest Odyssey Day to date.
NAFTC is planning for Odyssey Day 2008. Golin's work with NAFTC will continue through 2007.
PR team: National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (Morgantown, WV) and GolinHarris (Arlington, VA)
Campaign: 2006 National AFV Day Odyssey
Duration: August to October 12, 2006