CAMPAIGNS: Corporate Image - Kids turn adults into energy savers

Client: Owens Corning (Toledo, OH)
PR Team: Golin/Harris International (Chicago)
Campaign: EnergySmart Schools
Time Frame: August through November 1999
Budget: dollars 200,000

Client: Owens Corning (Toledo, OH)
PR Team: Golin/Harris International (Chicago)
Campaign: EnergySmart Schools
Time Frame: August through November 1999
Budget: dollars 200,000

Client: Owens Corning (Toledo, OH)

PR Team: Golin/Harris International (Chicago)

Campaign: EnergySmart Schools

Time Frame: August through November 1999

Budget: dollars 200,000



Kids are the biggest nags in the world - just ask any parent who’s been

hounded by a wee one to buy him or her a toy. Insulation manufacturer

Owens Corning was counting on that childhood trait when it launched a

campaign to educate children on how to conserve energy.





Strategy



’Kids can be extremely persuasive, especially when it comes to seat

belts and recycling,’ says campaign manager Jon Hoch of Golin/Harris,

Owens Corning’s agency of record. ’We decided the best way to educate

parents about conservation was to educate their kids.’



The schools program is part of a three-year-old Department of Energy

effort to open America’s eyes on how to save energy. Owens Corning is

the major corporate sponsor of the program, which it hopes will enhance

its image as an environmental caretaker.





Tactics



In August, Owens Corning distributed 10,000 educational kits to schools

chosen at random. The packages, entitled ’Saving Energy Starts With Me,’

contained material for students and a teacher’s guide for the three-day

course.



In the classroom, children used the kits for experiments on the

greenhouse effect and global warming. They discussed energy sources and

how people waste and save energy. Finally, they assessed the energy

efficiency of their homes, checking off questions on a take-home audit.

Their parents helped them measure the amount of insulation in the attic

and count the number of energy-reducing light bulbs in the home.



Almost 1,000 kids submitted 100-word essays for a contest with the

theme, ’Why Saving Energy Starts With Me.’ In November, the 12 best

writers were dubbed EnergySmart ambassadors and won a trip to

Washington, DC before Thanksgiving to attend a student summit at the

Capitol.



At a press conference at Patterson Elementary, Robert Niles of

Williamsville, NY, was asked to speak - extemporaneously - to an

auditorium full of schoolchildren and reporters. ’He’s going to be the

next president of the US,’ brags Todd Hall, marketing communication

leader for Owens Corning’s insulation systems business. ’He stood at the

podium, making eye contact, scanning the audience. He’s extremely

articulate.’



Robert, along with Christina Banks of St. Petersburg, FL, traveled on to

New York for a media tour.



Golin/Harris sent media kits to 500 press outlets in August; another 500

were mailed in November to publicize the contest and trip to

Washington.



A three-minute video news release was distributed via satellite, showing

how energy is wasted in schools and demonstrating how many teachers

could be hired and books purchased if schools were energy efficient.





Results



In Washington, DC, Golin/Harris received a mention in The Washington

Post and a 12-inch story about one of the ambassadors, along with a

photo, written by a 13-year-old reporter on the kids’ page of The

Washington Times. Some two dozen TV stations across the country did

pieces based on the VNR. The most extensive coverage came from each of

the winners’ hometowns. Jackie Riley of Milwaukee was the subject of

three TV pieces and a feature story with her photo in the Milwaukee

Journal Sentinel.



In New York, Robert and Christina appeared with weather personalities on

CBS’ The Early Show and NBC’s Weekend Today show. They were also on

three nationally syndicated radio programs on home improvement.



In total, the campaign won 270 media placements with 88.6 million

impressions. As a result of the campaign, more than a quarter million

children and parents assessed the energy efficiency of their homes.





Future



The 2000 EnergySmart program will be expanded to five days and will

include an audit of schools as well as homes.



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