2015 Asia-Pacific Gold Winner - GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications

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Company: GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc., Makati City, Philippines
Category:Communications/PR - Campaign: Investor Relations

Entry Title: Championing sustainable entrepreneurship by igniting pride, preference for local produce

Igniting a different kind of people power

In a country where electricity is a highly prized commodity, it takes a great effort to urge people to do the unthinkable to greatly reduce—if not, totally stop—consuming energy as a way to bring energy levels up.

In 2014, GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc. (GMCI) partnered with Visayan Electric Company (VECO), owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation, to address the challenge of a looming power crisis in Cebu. The threat of brownouts in the area, at that time, stemmed from power generation shortages after some of the power plants were destroyed following the massive devastation from Typhoon Yolanda, thus creating a huge energy deficit. If left unaddressed, this can blow up and result in a similar crisis reminiscent of the power crisis during the 1990s where a huge portion of the country endured 8-12 hours of blackouts during the summer season.

Contrary to the belief that a power outage is something they don’t have control over, GeiserMaclang devised the Cebu Unplugged campaign to emphasize that even ordinary energy consumers have the power and the capacity to help avert an impending power crisis. Through this campaign, GeiserMaclang sought to shift public perception from the idea that the impending power shortage is one company’s service problem to the belief that it is a societal problem.

Engagement and education

Cebu Unplugged initiative aims to reduce Cebu’s overall carbon footprint through the promotion of responsible energy use. Using various stakeholders from the power sector, the business sector, and the academe, GeiserMaclang mobilized the crisis management and advocacy pillars of the campaign by explaining how the situation will affect businesses and consumers on a larger scale.

Through an information-education campaign, GeiserMaclang emphasized the fact that, if everyone in Cebu with heating and cooling appliances unplugged for eight (8) straight hours per day, the entire population could drastically reduce the blackouts simply because they are consuming far lesser amounts of power than they usually do. By consuming only what is needed, the campaign emphasized the fact that everyone can help secure a steady supply of electricity.

Gaining momentum

GeiserMaclang sought to create greater awareness about the current power condition by enlisting the help of Cebu’s youth. Collectively referred to as the “Energy Scouts,” these young volunteers from the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines took a pledge to support energy conservation efforts as part of their community service activities. Aside from espousing energy-saving practices at home, they also helped spread the idea to other people as well.

Aside from onboarding Energy Scouts, GeiserMaclang also involved many other facets to spread the energy-efficient lifestyle among Cebuanos. GeiserMaclang commissioned contemporary artist Leeroy New for an art installation that serves as a manifestation of VECO’s commitment to bringing sustainable energy for all. Portray VECO’s role in enabling energy to complete its journey from the source, all the way to the cities it powers, the installation sought to rise as a beacon of inspiration for everyone to adopt the energy efficient lifestyle.

The campaign also included an Energy Forum, which was held to provide the public with more ways to save energy, as well as the Kasangga Awards, which acknowledged VECO’s most energy-efficient commercial and industrial. The awards were given to those who participated in the company’s Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which encouraged businesses to generate their own electricity during peak hours when demand for power is at its highest. The collective effort ensured there was enough energy to go around for those who do not have generating capacity, tempering demand and allowing Cebu to avert power outages.