E-Fuel brings its MicroFueler straight to Calif. Capitol steps

E-Fuel, a maker of organic fuel technologies, introduced its original MicroFueler, which converts waste products into ethanol, in March 2008.

Company: E-Fuel

Campaign: Introduction of MicroFueler

PR Team: E-Fuel and Maloney & Fox

Duration: April 2009 – June 2009

Budget: $40,000

E-Fuel, a maker of organic fuel technologies, introduced its original MicroFueler, which converts waste products into ethanol, in March 2008. For the latest iteration of MicroFueler, it sought to convert an unveiling event on the steps of the California State Capitol into greater brand awareness.

Strategy: After getting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to agree to inspect the MicroFueler at the state capitol, Maloney & Fox and client E-Fuel sought to gain media coverage by pitching the capital press corps, general interest, and trade titles. Prior to the event, the company tried to bolster its reputation as a legitimate product in a controversial industry, said Zac Rivera, lead director on the account at Maloney & Fox. “We had to establish E-Fuel's credibility, so we took the chief scientists to speak to the media,” he says. “Once the media spent a few minutes with these guys talking inside baseball, they saw that they're very real and that the product could be a paradigm-shifter.”

Tactics: The agency worked with the governor's press staff on event logistics, drafting press releases and creating USB press kits to familiarize reporters with the company. It also worked with Schwarzenegger's press office to pitch the event to the press corps and other interested outlets.

Results: The unveiling was covered by TV stations from the San Francisco, Sacramento, and Monterrey areas, while the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, and CNBC program Street Signs also attended. Unique visitors to E-Fuel's Web site also increased nearly five-fold during the week of the event, jumping from 715 to 3,404. The week after the press conference, it nearly doubled again, reaching 6,345 unique visitors, according to statistics provided by Maloney & Fox. Site traffic has dropped slightly since then, though.

Future: Maloney & Fox and E-Fuel have an ongoing relationship. The agency plans to pitch case studies to national and local media, and suggest environmental trend stories to feature writers and national news organizations. The agency will also alter its media strategy depending on current events to include the company in other coverage, said Rivera.

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