Using Broadcast Media’s Power to Fight Climate Change

(Source: WWF)

By Czarina Cabuyadao and Low Sieu Ping
The Hoffman Agency, Singapore

 How “Use Your Power for Earth Hour 2014” won a Holmes In2 SABRE Asia-Pacific Award for broadcast media (Radio/Television) and reminded us why traditional media still matters.

In the past 10 years, broadcast television and radio have been called a dying industry. Broadcasters have been told that they will be replaced by the onslaught of online content. In our digital age, traditional media seems to be dwindling.

As online audiences grow rapidly, the challenge for broadcasters is to transition processes for content creation and distribution. This is also a struggle for companies on the other end of the communication chain, looking for a sustainable and cost-effective way to reach their target audiences.

The Hoffman Agency Asia Pacific, together with the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore (WWF), a non-governmental organization that seeks to educate and raise awareness of climate change, saw an opportunity. Why not use broadcast media to showcase powerful visuals and strong content, as well as generate a strong call-to-action?

But cutting through the clutter was not easy. Through a combination of PR and marketing strategies, WWF believed that it could gain a competitive edge with its earned media properties to raise awareness of its cause. With help from The Hoffman Agency, the appointed communications partner for the Earth Hour 2014 campaign, both organizations customized storytelling angles for each target broadcast program.

Here’s what we did during the media relations process:

  • Customized a wide range of media stories to cater to varying broadcast audiences to provoke thought and inspire change. Stories included leadership profiles to highlight those steering the ship, humanizing Earth Hour and bringing relevance back to the Singaporean community, and leveraging the entertainment factor of Spider-Man as the first superhero ambassador of Earth Hour;
  • United both online and offline communities with a call-to-action through the broadcast medium;
  • Curated powerful imagery and leveraged celebrity partnerships from the Spider-Man 2 cast to jumpstart conversations and create buzz;
  • Staged a “live” lights-off public event to rally the crowd for a common cause, and showcased it on news TV.

From the careful planning came exciting results. Here’s what we achieved:

  • Positioned WWF-Singapore as an advocate for climate change from visibility generated by global, regional and local broadcast channels. Outlets included Guangzhou TV, The Weather Channel, Huffington Post Live, major regional broadcasting channels and more;
  • Collected over 29,000 pledges for WWF from Singapore, received commitment from more than 500 companies to support the cause, and attracted attendance of almost 20,000 people at the annual Earth Hour Lights-Off event, an indication of the powers of combined PR strategies, including that of the broadcast media.

Perhaps the impact of climate change seems limited, but WWF-Singapore was unfazed. The organization took a leap of faith with a seemingly dead news medium with a concrete call-to-action for its target audience.

With this, The Hoffman Agency Asia Pacific and WWF-Singapore joined the ranks of other major organizations in Asia Pacific, such as Nanyang Technological University and the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), to take a final bow during The Holmes Report SABRE Awards ceremony in Hong Kong on September 23.

What’s more, the campaign was recognized as a finalist for excellence in creating content via “Live Events”.

To put this in context, a dozen agencies from across the Asia-Pacific region were recognized for the quality of their multimedia content creation at the In2 SABRE Awards presentation. It focused on excellence in insight and innovation, considering a broad range of content, from live events and social media campaigns to digital video and paid advertising.

The Hoffman Agency Singapore, together with Build Eco Xpo (BEX) Asia was also recognized for its excellence in content creation for the category of Trade Shows and Awards at the In2 SABRE Asia Pacific Awards.

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