SACRAMENTO, CA: Facing widespread perception of a state left in the
dark by rolling blackouts, a coalition of economic development groups in
California has launched a PR campaign to paint a brighter picture of the
According to the coalition, blackouts result in more than just lights
going off, they also have the potential for turning off businesses
considering moving to California.
"Let's face it," said Wayne Schell, speaking for the coalition,
"California's economic development community is contending now with not
one but two crises. There's the energy crisis, and then there's the
international perception of the energy crisis."
As a result, the coalition of more than 300 economic development
organizations across California have launched "The Power of California,"
a campaign to reach business and media centers such as New York,
Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, DC, and present a more glowing picture
of what's happening in the state.
The initial budget is $150,000 for six months, but backers have
been quoted in the media as stating that this is just a "down payment"
on what they hope will become a larger effort. The coalition has hired
New York-based Development Counselors International (DCI) to handle the
Rob DeRocker, DCI EVP, said there is "a perception by outsiders that
(Californians) are spending days in the dark. It isn't true.
Nevertheless, the perception is there ... and perception can become
reality at the wrong time."
He explained, "There has been an avalanche of media to the point that it
has reached the vernacular." As one example, DeRocker cited NBC's Jay
Leno, who made a joke about the Californian plight by doing a portion of
his show in the dark. "That has the potential for having a very damaging
effect that can go beyond the actual power situation," he said.
DeRocker said the two basic objectives of "The Power of California" are
to counter the negative perceptions "and use this as a platform to tell
about the real power in California: people power, economic power, and
The first campaign activity will be to brief key business leaders in
California, before taking the road show to major markets in the East and
Among the campaign's funders are the Los Angeles County Economic
Development Corporation, the Orange County Business Council, and the
Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Association.