The on-going challenge for social marketers is turning intangible products (behaviors) and incentives/costs into relevant, everyday actions that have immediate and tangible consequences. The easy example is cigarette smoking, especially as we've gotten so good at it. Tobacco marketers had products in all sizes, shapes, nicotine and tar levels and brands. We had "no smoking" and "it causes __________(fill in the health problem)" that even graces the side of cigarette packaging today. Over time we realized that these exhortations and costs had little influence on teen smoking. We began to search for ways to package nonsmoking that wasn't just the default position of "not cool." We also needed more tangible and immediate costs and benefits (began focusing on bad breath and smells that turned off the opposite sex; being the rebel by not smoking).
The energy conservation folks have faced a similar problem over the years in my estimation. Yes, there are dozens of tips to conserve energy but those don't dial-in relevance or WIIFM for most people (that's What's In It For Me). Saving energy or money on the monthly energy bills, or reducing the rate of global warming are, I suspect, an even bigger stretch for most people than "getting lung cancer or having a heart attack in your 50s" or "spend your money on other things" are for a 15 year-old who is smoking cigarettes. Which is what makes this campaign from Sustainability Victoria an eye-catcher. As noted at Duncan's TV Ad Land:
"Every day, the energy consumed by the average Victorian home produces 654 balloons or 33 kilograms of greenhouse gas,” Mr Theophanous said. “Research shows that people are concerned about climate change but don’t necessarily think they can do much about it.”
Making the intangible tangible; making the invisible visible. The insight the campaign can build on: it's not that they don't think they can do anything, it's that they don't realize what they're already doing. Now if it were me: black balloon magnets and stickers for the kids to bring home from school and start putting on all the appliances. Think of them as point-of-choice or cues for action for all those tips we've been giving them.
Thanks to Houtlust.