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PRSA Creative Strategies With Fewer Resources


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We’ve all been there — working hard and creating a campaign, project, program or tactic where everything is “golden” like the “Drive $marter Challenge 2008” consumer campaign on fuel efficiency. We exceeded goals, won awards, developed cutting-edge tactics, and created powerful partnerships with 19 nonprofit, governmental, trade association and for-profit entities to dramatically extend the campaign’s marketing, reach, budget, and credibility.

Then, reality intervened with the economic meltdown. Getting anywhere with the 2009 campaign was like slogging through quicksand. We ultimately had one-fifth the budget of the previous year, fewer funders, and high partner expectations.

To break through the clutter with fewer resources, we came up with creative, affordable tactics, including a fun video contest promoted primarily through digital and social media to boost Web site traffic, buzz, awareness, and build the audience among younger drivers.

Take a look at the top four humorous videos at
It proves that necessity and creativity is the mother of invention

Published in: Automotive
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PRSA Creative Strategies With Fewer Resources

  1. 1. Drive $marter Challenge 2009 Fuel Efficiency Consumer Campaign PRSA Association/Nonprofit Conference Making Less “More:” Creative Strategies for Working With Fewer Resources Rozanne Weissman, Marketing Communications Consultant & Business Writing Trainer Former Senior Director of Consumer Campaigns Alliance to Save Energy [email_address]
  2. 2. Today’s Discussion <ul><li>Drive $marter Challenge 2008 Quick Highlights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Situation & consumer market research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative strategies/tactics/execution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation/results </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Drive $marter Challenge 2009 – Creatively Overcoming Economic Challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Video contest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater social media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big bang for the buck! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Questions & Feedback </li></ul>
  3. 3. Situation Analysis in Jan. 2008 <ul><li>Nation's increasing oil demand created 7 yrs of rising gasoline prices, air pollution, & CO 2 emissions; reduced energy security </li></ul><ul><li>Projected $4+ a gallon gas prices by summer 2008 would hurt lower income Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers must be engaged to be more fuel efficient </li></ul>
  4. 4. Goals & Target Audience <ul><li>GOALS </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce consumer gasoline bills, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), & overall U.S. national gasoline consumption </li></ul><ul><li>APPROACH </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight easy driving & vehicle maintenance actions that add up to substantial savings ($, gallons, CO2 emissions) </li></ul><ul><li>AUDIENCE </li></ul><ul><li>Low/lower middle-income drivers most hurt by high prices </li></ul>
  5. 5. Consumer Market Research – 6 Focus Groups <ul><li>Fear, powerlessness, already cut gas use </li></ul><ul><li>MONEY $$ biggest motivator to encourage demo to &quot;drive smarter&quot; & reduce VMT </li></ul><ul><li>Drivers wanted specific monetary savings tied to every driving & maintenance tip/action to make best decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Stunned at impact of driving behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Every participant took tested tips, never before saw financial impact </li></ul>
  6. 6. Strategy Based on Research <ul><li>Theme: Drive $marter Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Messaging – save hundreds of dollars on gasoline annually </li></ul><ul><li>Website – heart of campaign & “call to action” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Website Strategy <ul><li>Interactive website calculates/personalizes TOTAL $ savings w/their specific vehicle with 6 driving & maintenance actions </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge (total $, gallons, CO2) multiplier </li></ul><ul><li>Discount coupons (motivates this demo) </li></ul><ul><li>Tips, resources, myth busters </li></ul>
  8. 8. Partner Strategy <ul><li>Obtain diverse nonprofit, governmental, trade association, & for-profit partners to expand campaign’s reach, budget, credibility, & potential members </li></ul><ul><li>Partners would heavily promote – toolkit </li></ul><ul><li>Feature rotating partners on every page </li></ul><ul><li>Greater $ contribution, greater role </li></ul>
  9. 9. Evergreen Campaign Tactics <ul><li>Multi-year Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Online – 2 websites for general public & media; targeted digital & social media outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Radio – Humorous PSAs, PSAs, negotiated 2-year rights; targeted extensive outreach/interviews </li></ul><ul><li>TV – B-roll, on-the-road interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Tip cards – Car repair, DMVs, counties, drivers’ education – 2 million; 46 organizations </li></ul>
  10. 10. Buzz-Building Tactics <ul><li>Songs in English & Spanish (reggaeton) downloadable to MP3 players & iPods </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile marketing – downloadable ring tones, weekly tips to cell phones </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasts w/NASCAR driver – unexpected </li></ul><ul><li>High-definition B-roll, :60 news clip on video sharing sites, photos on FlickrStories </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger & Hispanic outreach </li></ul>
  11. 11. Media & PSA Results <ul><li>Earned media </li></ul><ul><li>Garnered 7631+ TV, radio, newspaper, & magazine story placements </li></ul><ul><li>157+ million audience impressions </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of websites & blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Radio PSAs </li></ul><ul><li>Delivered more than 15 x ROI total campaign budget </li></ul><ul><li>$15.48 million donated airtime in 6 months </li></ul><ul><li>762 radio stations </li></ul><ul><li>134,922 + airings </li></ul>
  12. 12. Evaluation – Final Campaign Results December 2008
  13. 13. Results – Messaging & Actions <ul><li>Sept 2008 Shelton Group’s Energy Pulse survey: </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 70% had “seen, heard, or read money – saving gas tips on ways you can change your driving habits or maintain your vehicle to improve your gas mileage & save hundreds of dollars every year .” </li></ul><ul><li>More than 70% said they had taken 4 specific fuel efficiency actions (featured in our calculator) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Research/Evaluation <ul><li>High gas prices & housing situation created high receptivity for D$C money-saving gas tips that add up to big savings </li></ul><ul><li>1st time since 1980, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) & overall US gas consumption declined…documented by DOE, IEA, Gallup Poll </li></ul>
  15. 15. Awards & Recognition <ul><li>Numerous awards for total D$C campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Separate awards for interactive website & radio & billboard PSAs </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation Research Board poster board presentation at Jan. 2009 convention with 10,000 people from around the world </li></ul><ul><li>Covered 3 times in PR Week </li></ul>
  16. 16. Drive $marter Challenge 2009 Campaign Challenges
  17. 17. 2009 Campaign Challenges <ul><li>… and then the Economic Meltdown …. </li></ul><ul><li>1/5 of last year’s budget </li></ul><ul><li>2 funders rather than 6 </li></ul><ul><li>High expectations after last year’s results </li></ul><ul><li>Lower gasoline prices = not in news daily </li></ul>
  18. 18. 2009 Campaign Opportunities <ul><li>Excellent tactics that can be updated & further promoted </li></ul><ul><li>Outstanding partners who can extend campaign’s marketing & reach </li></ul><ul><li>News & consumer interest because of tough economy so change messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorm creative solutions </li></ul>
  19. 19. ‘ Refreshing’ Campaign Low-cost solutions <ul><li>Updated calculator, tips, tip cards with new May 2009 $ amounts, new coupons, new partners </li></ul><ul><li>New :60 news segment turned into podcast to video sharing websites & DirecTV, updated B-roll on broadband site </li></ul><ul><li>RMT. Alliance President & API w/national radio networks & syndicated talk shows = huge reach </li></ul><ul><li>Promoted English & Spanish radio PSAs – NAB, e-mail marketing, negotiations </li></ul>
  20. 20. 2009 Campaign Brainstorming No-cost/low – cost ‘blue sky’ ideas – contest to build buzz
  21. 21. D$C 2009 Video Contest Worked with C3 to develop contest & microsite
  22. 22. Video Contest Strategy <ul><ul><li>GOAL: Increase buzz, awareness, action, web traffic, younger audience, partner engagement, coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contestants use 1 or more fuel efficiency tips from D$C website in 2-minute video; public voting for top 10 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eligible entrants received $25 gift card from ExxonMobil & Car Care Guide from Car Care Council. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Target film schools, digital, & social media (money-saving/frugality trend, travel, auto/race car enthusiasts, contests) Obtained 65 videos! </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Social Media Strategy <ul><ul><li>Social media – Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Flickr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video contestants, Alliance, partners extensively used Facebook, twitter, YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1158 fans of the Alliance Facebook page & 750 Twitter followers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More than 665 hits to video website tracked by resulted from &quot;tweets“/retweet strategy from personal twitter account @PRlady007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contest promo video on video sharing websites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Winners on YouTube; all entries on YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy efficiency day at baseball Stadium on Flickr </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Partner Engagement Strategy <ul><ul><li>Donated prizes, judges, fun! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grand Prize: $5,000 from ExxonMobil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Prize: Choice between VIP NASCAR or Indy Race Package (latter includes ride in 2- seater bio diesel racecar with pro-driver) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third Prize: Whichever prize not selected by 2nd prize winner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fourth Prize: Transportation Efficiency Package – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1-year AAA membership, 4 Michelin Energy Saver All Season Tires, 2 Silver Spoke League of American Bicyclists memberships </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. 17 Partners Multiply Impact Energy Efficiency Day at the baseball game. Promoted D$C w/Alliance at new LEED-certified Washington, DC Nationals Park– tips on Jumbo-tron, 30,000 cobranded tip cards, booth, Energy Hog with Screech Challenged nation’s 3,066 counties to take Drive $marter Challenge , 60+ counties participated & publicized. Winners honored
  26. 26. New Broadband ‘Twist’ <ul><ul><li>Updated B-roll footage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative tactic–offered B-roll, other elements to video contestants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NEW :60 TV news story aired 7 times on DirectTV,1.48 million viewer impressions; podcast for video sharing websites </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Focus on Radio – National Negotiated great price for national RMT launch May 19 – Alliance & API on radio networks & syndicated shows- Fox, AP, CNN, Metro Networks, Bobby Likis’ Car Clinic Result: 6395 Stations, 8 million listeners Additionally, Bobby Likis featured video contest on radio show, Youtube feed with video, website, “Tweets”
  28. 28. Focus on Radio – Local <ul><li>5 humorous English and Spanish Radio PSAs – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>926 Stations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>155,599 times </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$17.538 million donated media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local radio news & talk shows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nation’s Capital – WAMU, WTOP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60 Pennsylvania stations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>St. Louis station – reaches 44 states at night </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Print & Digital Media <ul><ul><li>Tips, D$C website, video contest featured: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>92 print publications – 7.23 million circulation,15+ million impressions, including New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>650+ websites & blogs – some featuring finalists/4 winning videos –, Frugal Dutchess, Sandra's contest blog,, Car Gurus blog, Street Journal, Radio TV Interview Report, Fox business, hot indie, Tips for Green Travel Guide, auto channel, </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. D$C Web Results <ul><li>Web site Results*: Saving more & more every day… </li></ul><ul><li>185,766 unique visitors </li></ul><ul><li>54,240 Challenge participants </li></ul><ul><li>$24.5 million </li></ul><ul><li>10.5 million gallons of gas </li></ul><ul><li>117,500 metric tons of CO2 </li></ul><ul><li>9,095 Mobil I coupons downloaded </li></ul><ul><li>51% increase in traffic during contest timeframe compared to same time 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>* As of December 2009 </li></ul>
  31. 31. Video Contest #2 Click Photo Questions & Discussion