Client: Salt River Project, SRP (Arizona)
PR Team: Cramer-Krasselt
Campaign: SRP Energy-Saving Solutions
Time Frame: June 7, 2000 - mid-August
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.
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.
The two-stage campaign started on June 7, when SRP and C-K unleashed
walking, talking, spending household appliances on an unsuspecting
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
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."
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.
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
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.