You’ve got energy drama.

Here’s the reality from our Energy Pulse study:

  • 80% of us think we don’t use more energy than we did five years ago.
  • 49% of us think our homes are already energy efficient, thank you very much.
  • Surprisingly, then, 50% of us claim to have made between one and three improvements to make our homes more energy efficient.
  • But … most of these folks claim their utility bills have stayed the same or gone up. In fact, 63% of us say our utility bills have gone up over the last year.
  • So most of us don’t think we actually need energy efficiency … the rest of us think it doesn’t matter what we do to be more efficient – our utility bills are just going to keep going up, so why bother.
  • And in the midst of that, utilities, manufacturers and retailers are spending billions of dollars every year to get Americans to be more energy efficient … essentially marketing something most of us don’t want or think we don’t need.


So we’ve learned over the years that in order for energy efficiency marketing to be effective, you have to go to market with a one-two punch:

  1. Wake people up to the fact that they have an energy efficiency problem.
  2. Then drive them to prescriptive solutions to solve the problem.

This is trickier than it sounds. You can’t just run ads saying, “You have an energy efficiency problem!” Most people will roll their eyes, or completely ignore you. Instead, you have to show them a situation they’re familiar with … and let it sink in/dawn on them that “ohhhhhh … maybe I do have a problem.”

That’s the premise behind our Avoid Energy Drama PSA campaign, running now in the state of Michigan. The campaign, sponsored by Michigan Saves with support from DTE, Consumers Energy and Dow, shows a couple of common scenarios that we’ve all experienced – the battle over the thermostat (somebody always wants to turn it up while somebody else wants to turn it down) and the battle over a home improvement (somebody often wants to tackle it himself while someone else wants to get professional help). This is all energy drama … which is the result of an energy efficiency problem.

So far, so good. We’re four months into a 12-month campaign and have some strong results (and if you’re not familiar with PSA campaigns, there is no paid media … the goal is to get the stations to run the ads for free):


  • The campaign has already aired on half the network TV stations in Michigan.
  • Those airings, plus radio and online runs, have garnered 5,338,794 true media impressions (excluding PR) toward an annual goal of 16 million.


  • On the campaign website, we’ve exceeded unique visitor goals at 3,483 (the goal was 2,500).


  • 47% of those visitors to the website have clicked on a sponsor logo.

If you’re in the energy efficiency business, drive your target audiences here: Helping folks realize they’ve got energy drama in their homes will get us a lot further toward helping people understand they have a problem that needs to be fixed. After all, who really wants to be a drama queen?

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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