Avoid the Drama

“Six hundred dollars for a plumber? Are you kidding? I can fix it for $40 – max.” I thought those words would be greeted by a look of relief on my wife’s face. I was mistaken.

Granted, my solution to the simultaneous failure of both showers may not have involved conventional plumbing techniques (no need to go into detail here). But it was, in my estimation, a solid fix. And, for 40 bucks, it was clearly the way to go.

Or, as it turned out … not. My wife put her foot down, and we called a professional.

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. This kind of drama takes place in homes all across the country. A little thing sparks a disagreement, we say things we regret, and before you know it, a well-groomed boxing announcer shows up in our living room to show us how silly we are for making a mountain out of a mole hill. Right?

(I may have lost you on that last part, but it will make more sense in a minute.)

A coalition of companies recently hired Shelton Group to develop a behavior change public service campaign. The roster of backers – led by Michigan Saves, with support from Consumers Energy, Dow and DTE Energy – was committed to improving residential energy efficiency in the state of Michigan. Based on our market research and understanding of behavior change, we decided to make use of the “home drama” concept. It was the perfect fit for several reasons.

For one, we’ve learned that people need to be made aware they have an energy problem. Eighty percent of Americans don’t think they use more electricity today than they did five years ago, and almost half think their homes are already pretty energy efficient. But most homes actually need improvements, and energy waste is unnecessarily draining budgets and creating drama.

Second, even though people say they are motivated by saving money, Energy Pulse™ 2013 tells us they are tired of hearing about it. It’s a message so widely used it’s going in one ear and out the other. We’ve also learned that discomfort actually drives energy-efficient behavior more than hypothetical savings achieved at some point in the future.

So, when we needed an attention-grabbing message that would bring consumers’ dysfunctional energy behaviors to the forefront, AvoidEnergyDrama.com was born.

Spots open to a routine household dispute centered around energy efficiency. As the domestic partners take off the gloves, a boxing announcer turns their home into an arena. Suddenly, the familiar scenario is revealed for the ridiculous exhibition in futility that it is, and our announcer reveals a simple, manageable solution.

The effectiveness of this campaign lies in its connecting of dots. A lot of people are aware that there is a need for more energy efficiency in the world – they just don’t see the need in their own home. By couching our messaging in an attention-getting and painfully familiar situation, viewers begin to see how it applies to them. They also see how making some simple changes could make them more comfortable, help put more money in their pockets and reduce the drama in their homes.


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Posted on

January 8, 2014

About the Author

Matt Brass

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing all campaigns and collateral. With nearly two decades of marketing design under his belt, Matt has extensive experience in design, photography and videography, as well as blogging about the latest and greatest (or worst) ad campaigns out there. He leads our team on kayaking trips, too.

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