At around the same time it became apparent that the slide in the US economy might be far worse than previously imagined, the Wal-Mart Foundation partnered with the Alliance to Save Energy and other organizations to launch a campaign showing low- and middle-income consumers how to combat high gas prices in relatively easy and practical ways.
The team notes that with the average US household spending about $3,400 on gas a year, the savings could make a big difference.
The Wal-Mart Foundation and the Alliance sought to collect as many partners as possible to promote the effort through their own communications channels that reach consumers at exactly the places they are thinking about cars, such as DMVs and automobile dealerships.
One partner, the National Association of Counties (NACO), saw the campaign as a perfect tie-in to its ongoing “Change a Light” energy efficiency campaign. “The campaign of being more fuel efficient really seemed to run parallel with the goal of our campaign,” says NACO senior associate Kelly Zonderwyk.
Efforts to promote the campaign included local and national media outreach; PSAs in both English and Spanish on the radio, billboards, posters, and bus shelters; mobile marketing; and more than 2 million promotional tip sheets distributed by the effort's many partners that directed people to a Web site, drivesmarterchallenge.org, for more detailed information.
Of the more than 93,000 visitors to the site, more than 33,000 have taken the Drive Smarter Challenge. In addition, visitors have so far downloaded 6,538 vehicle maintenance coupons. “It's done spectacularly,” says Rozanne Weissman, the Alliance's senior director of consumer campaigns.
Weissman says the group is in fundraising mode for a continuation and expansion of the effort.
PR team: Alliance to Save Energy (Washington) and Wal-Mart Foundation (Bentonville, AK)
Campaign: Drive Smarter Challenge
Duration: May 2008-ongoing
Budget: $1 million