Demolition day a big success as plant goes out with a bang

Florida Power & Light Company and rbb Public Relations drove positive messages around the demolition of the Port Everglades power plant.

Client: Florida Power & Light Company (Juno Beach, FL)
Agency
: rbb Public Relations (Miami)
Campaign
: Countdown to Energy Independence: The demolition of the Port Everglades power plant
Duration
: June 10-July 16
Budget
: About $30,000

Florida Power & Light Company and longtime AOR rbb Public Relations drove multiple positive messages around the July 16 demolition of the company's Port Everglades power plant.

"We're modernizing our plants and building cleaner, more efficient plants that use American natural gas," says the company's senior director of external communications Marci Grossman.

"Port Everglades was the third and largest plant we've torn down. We wanted to create awareness of the demolition and of the new plant that will replace it. We knew media would come to a demolition as it's a good visual, but if our messages didn't come through, we wouldn't have been successful."

Strategy
The campaign was executed in three phases to generate sustained media coverage and social media buzz.

The team capitalized on the July 4 holiday to tell the clean energy story through an energy independence messaging theme. "We're reducing our dependence on foreign oil because the new plant will use clean-burning natural gas made in the US," adds Grossman. "That's vital to our customers."

Grossman notes it was also important to inform locals of demolition logistics, stress the new plant's positive economic impact, and drive viewership of a live stream of the demolition on FPL.com and a related video. Ensuring message consistency across all campaign elements, which were available in English and Spanish, was key.

Tactics
The demolition date was announced in a broad release on June 10. To ensure messaging consistency, the team created a message map and media trained company spokespeople.

A Countdown to Energy Independence page that included a rendering of the new plant, information about the demolition, and promotion of the live stream went up on FPL.com on July 1.

A second news release, with a link to the website, was also issued on July 1, as was a Facebook event tab with an invitation to watch the live stream.

A video that included staff interviews, historical information about the plant, and footage of a previous demolition was posted to FPL.com and pushed out on social networks.

Pitch angles included the science and logistics behind the demolition, job creation, benefits of the new plant, and the history of the old plant.

Local media got a behind-the-scenes look at the placement of explosives. About 30 local and national representatives got rooftop access at a nearby convention center to cover the demolition. Media outlets not in attendance could pick up footage through local TV affiliates or the live stream.

Attendees were encouraged to pose in a photo booth at the event and spread the word on social media channels.

Results
The teaser video, which had 108,000 views as of mid-August, is the most viewed on the company's YouTube channel. A video of the demolition posted by a member of the public garnered 257,000 views.

About 550 stories ran in 46 states in outlets such as CNN, Fox and Friends, USA Today, National Geographic, and Telemundo. Grossman says that 60 stories ran before the event and coverage was close to 100% positive. "It was the most coverage for a single campaign we've gotten in the last couple of years," she explains.

The live stream page got 30,000 views. Facebook results include 720,000 total impressions and 3,774 likes.

Future
The company has plans to run several campaigns throughout October, which is Energy Awareness Month.

PRWeek's View
This campaign is a fantastic example of how to extend coverage around a brief event and drive a local story nationally. It was certainly a nice win for Florida Power & Light. Its team, along with rbb, did a great job of telling a multifaceted story and of ensuring tight and consistent messaging throughout. The demolition was clearly a great visual story, and the teaser video was a nice extension of that as it gave the media and public a preview of what to expect on the day. The live streaming was also really smart for people who could not attend.

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