Using Broadcast Media’s Power to Fight Climate Change and Why Traditional Media Still Matters

How “Use Your Power for Earth Hour 2014” Won a Holmes In2 SABRE Asia-Pacific Award for Broadcast Media (Radio/Television)

In the recent decade, broadcast television and radio have been called a dying industry, with broadcasters told that they will be replaced by the onslaught of online content via the Internet. As online audiences grow rapidly, the fight for broadcasters is to transition their content creation and distribution. This translates to a struggle for companies on the end of the communication chain, who are still looking for a sustainable and cost-effective way to reach their target audiences.

But The Hoffman Agency Asia Pacific, together with the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore (WWF), a non-governmental organisation that seeks to educate and raise awareness of climate change, saw an opportunity in broadcast media with a chance to showcase powerful visuals and strong content. They also wanted to generate a strong call-to-action.

While cutting through the clutter was not easy, tapping a combination of PR and marketing strategies allowed WWF to gain a competitive edge with its earned media properties to raise awareness of its cause. Through the help of The Hoffman Agency, the Earth Hour 2014 campaign’s appointed communications partner, both organisations customised storytelling angles for each broadcast program the agency reached out to.

Here’s what the team did:

  • Customised a wide range of media stories to cater to varying audiences on broadcast to provoke thoughts and inspire change. Stories included leadership profiling to highlight the leaders steering the ship, humanising Earth Hour and bringing relevance back to the Singaporean community, and leveraging on the entertainment factor of Spider-Man as the first superhero ambassador of Earth Hour.
  • United the community both online and offline with a call-to-action on a broadcast medium.
  • Curated powerful imagery and leveraging 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 showcasing it on TV news.

WWF Earth Hour WWF and Spider-Man cast

Here’s what the team achieved:

  • Positioned WWF-Singapore as an advocate for climate change from visibility generated by both regional and local broadcast channels in Asia and globally including Guangzhou TV, The Weather Channel, Huffington Post Live, and major regional broadcasting channel, MediaCorp, with its 13 radio stations, and TV with its 7 key channels within a span of four months.
  • Collected over 29,000 pledges from Singapore (from individuals and institutions), received commitment from more than 500 companies to support the cause, and almost 20,000 people attended 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 in scope to the uninitiated. WWF-Singapore was unfazed and took the leap of faith with the dying broadcast medium as a concrete call-to-action for its target audience. Words aside, here’s an illustration:

With this, The Hoffman Agency Asia Pacific and WWF-Singapore joined the ranks of other major organisations 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 is also 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 recognised for the quality of their multimedia content creation at the In2 SABRE Awards presentation. It focused on excellence in insight and innovation, and focused on the broad range of content created by PR firms, from live events to social media campaigns to digital video to paid advertising.

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