EPA’s Energy Star© Campaign
ENERGY STAR is a dynamic government/industry partnership that
offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions, making
it easy to save money while protecting the environment for future
In 1992 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced
ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify
and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products.
Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to additional office equipment
products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996,
EPA partnered with the US Department of Energy for particular
product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances,
office equipment, lighting, home electronics, new homes and both
commercial and industrial buildings.
Through partnerships with more than 7,000 private and public
sector organizations, ENERGY STAR delivers technical information
and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient
solutions. The program has successfully delivered energy and cost
savings across the country, saving businesses, organizations,
and consumers more than $7 billion a year.
In April 2001, The Cadmus Group, the prime EPA contractor, retained
Goodwill Communications to help launch a national, multi-media
public service advertising campaign. The distribution plan targeted
more than 15,000 English and Spanish media outlets. In addition
to implementing the campaign, we provide ongoing counsel to the
Cadmus/EPA team on the most cost effective techniques for maximizing
exposure for the ENERGY STAR program.
For example, during initial planning stages there were three
different TV PSA themes that each had their own PSAs. Initial
plans were to distribute all of the PSAs simultaneously. We advised
the planning team to distribute them in separate waves, which
would avoid the PSAs competing against each other and also provide
the opportunity for much greater exposure. To reinforce our position,
we conducted a gatekeeper survey among a dozen TV community affairs
directors who concurred with our recommendation.
Pre-campaign and on-going promotional activity was an important
campaign tactic. Prior to launch, blast faxes and a unique
emailgram were distributed to broadcast community affairs
directors giving them background information on the program.
We also produced a feature story on the program for our
proprietary newsletter called Broadcasters Café
which was distributed to all TV stations receiving the ENERGY
One of our major contributions to the PSA effort was to
lower costs so we could target more media. Initial plans
were to distribute each wave of TV PSAs using a very expensive
custom box. We advocated the use of a less expensive approach
that would permit us to target cable TV and additional media
outlets, a better use of resources that would permit us
to reach more people. Instead of custom made boxes for each
release, we designed inexpensive four-color crack and peel
labels such as the one shown which were applied to standard
corrugated boxes. The result was a compelling, graphically
intrusive box that cost a fraction of the custom package.
To broaden the media mix, we also employed shared-reel
distribution strategies to reach cable TV and radio stations
at the lowest possible cost.
our proprietary CablePAK and Radio DiskPAK distribution programs,
the ENERGY STAR PSAs were distributed to 500 major cable stations
and 3,000 radio stations along with other clients included
in the same package at a cost of about one-third the cost
of sending each station a separately packaged PSA.
due to talent and music restrictions that were negotiated prior
to our getting involved with the ENERGY STAR campaign, we were
precluded from editing longer length radio PSAs to create a 15-second
spot. Since shorter PSAs are more frequently used by many radio
stations this would have limited radio usage. To rectify the situation,
Goodwill Communications hired a radio producer to create a 15-second
PSA using library music that was identical to the custom music
used on the 60-second PSA which resulted in $482,455 worth of
additional exposure that would have otherwise not occurred.
Perhaps our most important contribution to the ENERGY STAR effort
was to recommend better packaging of print PSAs and an aggressive
print PSA distribution plan, particularly targeting major magazines.
We developed a much more user-friendly PSA package, placing all
PSAs on a CD along with a user’s guide showing what was
on the CD.
Initial plans called for targeting no newspaper and a very limited
number of magazines that had supported the program in the past.
Our recommended distribution plan included over 5,000 daily and
weekly newspapers that regularly use PSAs as well as a custom
list of 3,000 magazines.
As a result of this expanded distribution, 30 different magazines
used ENERGY STAR PSAs including seven full page PSAs in Bloomberg
Personal Finance; two full pages in Business Week, Rolling
Stone, and Worth magazines; 18 full pages in Commercial
Property News and full pages in Time, Forbes, Fortune,
Good Housekeeping, Inc. and Men’s Journal.
Total circulation of the print PSAs used to date is just under
While EPA research data showed that the ENERGY STAR program was
achieving its penetration goals in most U.S. markets, there were
a variety of areas where exposure was very weak. To try to reverse
these trends, EPA teamed up with various community partners to
expand their reach at the local level. We supported the effort
by tagging TV PSAs for a variety of different local organizations
including local Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), along
with local offices of the Consumer Action Network and the Consumer
Federation of America.
The E* message was also cross promoted with other energy saving
organizations such as the Alliance to Save Energy. Shown here
is the huge Panasonic Board high above Times Square which cast
a spotlight on the Alliance to Save Energy's “Super Powers”
TV PSA with its home energy efficiency/ENERGY STAR message. The
PSA aired every hour for a month for a total of 9600 airings worth
more than $100,000.
As with all the TV PSA campaigns we distribute, we conducted
extensive evaluation of the ENERGY STAR program and posted evaluation
reports to a password protected website we created for EPA on
what we call the PUBSANS (Public Service Advertising Analysis
was compiled from the A.C. Nielsen SIGMA electronic tracking service
and a Nielsen audience data package that provides Gross Impressions.
National staff and community partners can access evaluation data
from the EPA reporting portal site and download the usage data
into various software packages for further analysis and manipulation.
Subsequent to the initial "Change" campaign, we distributed
a new wave of the campaign called "Mark & Susanne"
using a humorous approach, which generated the most value for
any campaign we have ever distributed – just under $18 million
in verified advertising exposure.
date, the campaign has generated over 80 million impressions via
broadcast TV alone. The print campaign has generated over 1,277
clippings, reaching an audience of 55.4 million. The total for all
the campaigns we have distributed on behalf of EPA is just under
$33 million. Of this total, 70 percent was generated by broadcast
TV which demonstrates why we place so much of our emphasis on this
|Results are already adding up. Last year alone, Americans, with
the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to power 10 million
homes and avoid greenhouse gas emissions from 12 million cars -
all while saving $6 billion. The success of the EPA campaign is
a reflection of good creative, a solid distribution plan and an
issue that is becoming increasingly more important to both the media
and the general public.