Eco effort needs more power

BC Hydro is urging people to 'Make a difference today,' with a new multi-faceted campaign demonstrating that even little changes can help conserve power.

BC Hydro is urging people to ‘Make a difference today,’ with a new multi-faceted campaign demonstrating that even little changes can help conserve power.

The campaign centres on a ‘Power Smart’ quiz for people to test their conservation savvy online or in person. B.C. premier Gordon Campbell did it at a Vancouver kiosk in a photo opp to raise awareness about conservation, scoring press coverage from the likes of The Vancouver Sun.

‘It’s a way of establishing a dialogue with our consumers and getting them thinking about conservation,’ explains Mike Krafczyk, customer communications manager at BC Hydro.’This is going to be a 10-year effort on our part – this is just the beginning.’

OOH, radio and TV executions in English, Punjabi, Mandarin and Cantonese all drive consumers to The radio spots feature people talking about what it will take to leave a better B.C. for future generations, and one is just children’s voices. The TV consists of montages of ‘leaders’ like teachers and prominent British Columbians like Rick Hansen and Marc Garneau, to illustrate what it takes to be a conservation leader. Both TV spots end with a child turning off a light.

We asked Ian Morton, CEO at

Toronto-based environmental consulting agency Summerhill Group, and Trevor Schoenfeld and Lisa Greenberg,

co-CDs at Toronto-based agency GJP, and to weigh in on whether this campaign will get them to turn off their lights.


IM: The creative is compelling and engaging. Very emotive stuff – but I’m not clear exactly what they want the audience to do. Turn off the lights to save tomorrow? The most endearing feature for me as a dad is the consistent image of the child turning off the light – it effectively integrates motivation for change – but again, to what? I would prefer to see BC Hydro raise awareness by changing the market with kickass on-the-ground campaigns. This just doesn’t do it for me.

TS: I feel that they’ve missed a gigantic opportunity to really do something simple and memorable here. The ideas are uninspiring, derivative, safe, forgettable – basically everything you shouldn’t do if you want to effect

real change.

LG: After the big build-up, I’m not sure what they want me to do in order to conserve energy. There is nothing that would make me change my behaviour.



IM: Very weak – a new page within the existing site. I don’t see how this integrates with the rest of campaign.

TS: One of the only elements in this whole campaign that relates to the consumer on a personal level. But after watching any other piece of communication in this campaign, I can tell you I wouldn’t venture to this link.

LG: This is one piece that follows through and engages me a little more.


IM: The TV spots are obviously aimed at provoking an emotional response from their audience, from the music to the local hero imagery such as watching [hockey coach] Roger Neilson in all of his white flag glory.


IM: The radio spots are a good complement to the rest of the ad campaign, keeping with the consistent positive message for change.

TS: Where’s the idea? The incentive to change? What is BC Hydro doing? What is the relevance to me? What happens if I don’t act? Give me something to think about. Scare the crap out of me. Anything other than sappy music and kids!

LG: I have never heard a kid speak like they’ve been cast in this radio spot. It sounds contrived – adults talking with kids as puppets.

The creds

Client – BC Hydro

Mike Krafczyk, customer communications manager; Tiffany Kask, advertising planner; Michael Newland, digital communications manager

Agency – DDB Canada, Vancouver

Alan Russell, CD; Ryan Leeson, Dan Scherk, copywriters; Alexander Gerlings, Chris Moore, ADs; Lynn Bonham, Alicia Katz, agency producers; Dean Elissat, Karen Martin, Terra Thibodeau, account managers; Dave Robertson, photographer

Online agency – Tribal DDB, Vancouver

Cosmo Campbell, CD; Alex Beim, assistant CD; Cameron Warden, Tony Nichols, copywriters; Kelly Hale, designer; Amadou Issacs, Flash animator