THE BIG PITCH: What strategy would you use to counter there-emergence of nuclear power?

DAVID PETROU, President, Eisner Petrou and Associates, Washington,


Nobody wants to have Chernobyl or Three Mile Island dredged up again

Everyone knows what happened and besides, those are yesterday's negative

headlines. A strong positive case can be made effectively through public

relations. Nuclear power is very 1960s; many of the extant nuclear

plants throughout the US are collecting cobwebs. Rebuilding or

renovating them could prove more costly than constructing new electric

power stations. Federal and state governments should stress the power of

conservation, forming coalitions with non-extremist 'green'

organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy, to create an awareness

campaign Americans would buy into. The US auto industry knows that just

making vehicles five percent more fuel-efficient would save decades of

crude oil. From a PR standpoint, that's something the Bush

administration is yet to grasp.

PETER SHANKMAN, President, The Geek Factory, New York

Mr. Burns, from The Simpsons said it best: 'A lifetime of working in a

nuclear power plant has given me a healthy green glow and left me as

impotent as a Nevada boxing commissioner.' Those wishing to stop nuclear

power should play to that which would work best for them - the thought

(however true or untrue) that nuclear power is unsafe. A PR campaign

incorporating the following items should be implemented: 1. Send out

plush three-eyed fish to people who live within 50 miles of any proposed

nuclear power site, reminding them that 'Nuclear power is clean, safe,

and healthy!' 2. Try to lobby Congress for 'Geiger Counter Day,' making

it as important to check for radiation as it is to change the batteries

in your smoke detector. 3. Have press releases written on green,

glow-in-the-dark paper, promoting the many uses of nuclear power. (As an

added bonus, the glow-in-the-dark stuff should rub off onto the hands of

the reporters reading the release.)

MELA STEVENS, President and creative director, 823 Productions, New


Public awareness about where energy supplies come from or how they are

distributed is very low, according to surveys cited in Newsweek (May 7,

2001). In a campaign to stop the comeback of nuclear energy, we would

focus on a strategy that to most laymen 'nuclear' connotes Three Mile

Island and Chernobyl. This vision is the foundation for our key message

point: 'Nuclear energy: pre-sumed dangerous until proven safe.' An

intensive six-month media relations campaign would focus on two levels.

First, the use of a spokesperson that would present the facts on the

consequences of potential accidents and the steps that are not being

considered in the argument to refocus attention on nuclear energy.

Second, we would focus on children, as these issues will have more

impact on them and their future families. Working with public schools,

we might ask children (fifth, sixth and seventh graders) to express

their solution, alternative to and/or wish for non-use of nuclear energy

- through words and artwork - to showcase their voices. It would provide

a simple, direct and effective message.

SARAH DURHAM, Principal, Big Duck Studio, New York

It's interesting that the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island accidents

weren't incentive enough to stop nuclear power. We'd want to tackle it

by creating an alternative power brand. Let's call it 'Bright Power.'

This would be an entirely new category of power that will generate

positive press and provide branding opportunities that consumers would

find engaging. The PR and branding behind 'Bright Power' would seem so

much newer, fresher and dynamic that the smart consumer would be willing

to make the effort to switch. We'd position 'Bright Power' as 'the clear

alternative for bright people.' We'd support it with information that

made nuclear power look like power for old fuddy duddies - perhaps in

part by using dated visuals of reactors.

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