How Cadmus helped EPA bring energy savings to life for more than three million Americans
For eight years, the annual Change a Light, Change the World fall lighting promotion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)’s ENERGY STAR® program served as the flagship consumer education campaign for the program and was a cornerstone of ENERGY STAR®’s consumer education activities. Sponsored by numerous federal government agencies, the campaign acted as a national call to action for consumers to help change the world through decisions with a positive environmental impact.
Challenge: The Change a Light campaign was about more than selling a product: it aimed to create a brand synonymous with a conscientious lifestyle that empowered consumers to change their behaviors in ways that promote socially and environmentally responsible purchase decisions.
Most people want to save energy and help reduce the risks of global climate change, but government agencies sometimes struggle to find simple, tangible ways for everyday citizens to do their part. One clear opportunity presented itself: encouraging Americans to change the type of light bulbs they used. If every American home replaced just one light bulb or fixture with an ENERGY STAR® bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, save more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. However, for this to happen, ENERGY STAR® would have to overcome concerns about upfront costs for the new bulbs and unfamiliarity with the technology used in them.
Solution: In our role as campaign project manager on behalf of EPA, Cadmus worked closely with the EPA project manager to oversee all Cadmus campaign staff and a team of marketing and communications subcontractors on the integrated campaign effort, including:
- Strategic campaign planning
- Public relations and media support
- Consumer education and awareness building
- Development and production of all campaign creative and promotional materials for EPA and ENERGY STAR® partner use
- Web content and banners
- Overall team coordination
As the campaign’s marketer, Cadmus developed and executed many firsts for the industry, including innovative social marketing tactics:
- The Change a Light pledge and the online ENERGY STAR® Change a Light Pledge and its associated Pledge Driver program, which remains a key feature of the ENERGY STAR® program. More than three million consumers have taken the pledge.
- Unique public relations and marketing partnerships between the public and private sectors
- A bio-fueled public relations bus tour, the 2007 ENERGY STAR® Change a Light Bus Tour:
- This 20-day, ten-city national tour involved media and public engagement events across the nation to promote the benefits of ENERGY STAR®-qualified lighting to consumers. During the tour that kicked off at the Disneyland Resort in California, the bus was the star of 16 events. Each event garnered local media attention, and the tour reached out to millions of consumers across the nation through significant broadcast, print, and online coverage.
- The bus tour helped bring the campaign to life, using the vehicle to provide a branded visual backdrop across the country and a platform for interacting with consumers and providing hands-on learning and educational opportunities.
Results: Our team’s strategic leadership and design evolved the ENERGY STAR® Change a Light campaign from a product-based promotion into a flagship brand campaign for the EPA. This transformation delivered significant behavioral changes in consumers:
- More than three million consumers have taken the Change a Light pledge.
- During the campaign’s tenure, market share of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs rose nationally from 4 percent to more than 20 percent.
The 2007 Change a Light Bus Tour received television coverage in all ten markets visited, including an appearance at a Denver Broncos game on “Monday Night Football.” For the tour’s grand finale, it appeared with the EPA Administrator and U.S. Secretary of Energy on NBC’s “Today Show.”