By Kevin Willard and Heather Baldock
Every second of every day, millions of homes across the Northeast are losing energy, and their homeowners don’t even know it. That’s $300 more in energy costs each year and 1,400 pounds in unnecessary carbon emissions per household. And while customers care about their wallets and the environment, the topic of energy loss isn’t top of mind: it’s tedious, dull, and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be.
We were tasked to convey the problem of home energy loss to customers in a way that was interesting and easy to understand. We wanted them to not only see and understand how their homes were losing energy—we wanted them to take action to prevent energy loss by scheduling a home energy assessment and making improvements to their home.
The buy? Print.
Now, we could write a whole encyclopedia on this subject (and we have written quite a lot on it), but given that most people don’t spend more than a few seconds flipping past an ad in a magazine, we had to find a solution to stop customers in their tracks. So, we slipped into the shoes of an energy specialist.
Energy loss is invisible, but one method to observe it is through a thermographic imaging camera. These tools give us the ability to see heat loss in a home, portrayed in colorful, infrared patterns. We found a way to show this experience through thermochromic ink by collaborating with our partner, MNI, to make a print ad you could touch. By pressing your fingertips onto the outline of a house, you could see where energy loss was occurring, revealing this problem right before your eyes.
We ran the execution in several major magazines, and it was so successful that we expanded the campaign to take over the city of Boston.
To take this idea off the page and out of home, while retaining its interactive quality, we designed a touchscreen interface of our original print design by combining forces with Monster Media in Orlando, Florida. We took our concept of showing energy loss through thermal patterns and made it accessible on a screen in bus kiosks when prompted by the user’s fingertips. These touch points were supplemented with information on the problem areas and how to fix them.
To engage consumers even more, the whole touchscreen experience was weather-reactive. The screen displayed the current forecast in the area where our displays lived, and played an animation to reflect reality: when rain was near, the screen changed to illustrate rain pelting the digital home.
To amplify the experience, we also took over three-screen digital arrays in train and subway stations that showed a continuous, moving message. We geofenced the area so that consumers within 250 feet of the displays were served complementary digital banner ads that brought our thermal print ad to life on their phones, as well as an interstitial ad that was actually a game where users could tilt their screens to “reach a more efficient home.”
The result? A wide-reaching awareness campaign that sparked action to put a stop to energy loss across Boston’s sprawling residential areas, not only helping customers’ budgets, but also lowering their carbon footprints too.
No matter how complex your content may seem, there is always a way to market it in a more compelling way. And when we don’t see a solution already out there, we create one, even if it means exploring and transforming mediums in a way that hasn’t been done before. That’s how you make an impact with customers—you make the uninteresting unforgettable.