Spreading the Word

We are two, small TV stations in Portland, ME, a state where residents proudly place a high value on a clean environment. Going green in Maine was a no-brainer. Our initial plan was figure out how to run our stations as green as possible but we quickly realized that we could have a much bigger impact if we involved other companies and tens of thousands of television viewers!

Green For ME is the name of a year-long initiative we have launched. The goal is to create a green marketing partnership with select local businesses to develop television programs and announcements that provide green information in an entertaining package.
Our creative services team is very experienced creating 30 minute programs that incorporate sponsors. Picture “This Old House” where the materials and labor are supplied by participating sponsors to get an idea of what our shows look like. With several regional Emmy awards for our writing and production we are comfortable that we can create two, half-hour programs that provide valuable green information in a way that will attract viewers and retain their attention.

First we are writing and recording an original song built around the Green For ME idea. Our Art Department will add a logo and we’ll use both the aural and the visual branding elements throughout the year whenever we broadcast a Green For ME segment. It doesn’t hurt that one of our stations, WPXT-TV, is an affiliate of The CW television network which has embraced the green movement and which incorporates several shades of green into their network look.

Next we line up four sponsors. Unlike typical advertising packages where sponsors simply broadcast :30 commercials in a program, we want the four sponsors to be true partners in this campaign. As partners they will be expected to contribute their expertise and ideas to create two, 30-minute television programs and dozens of shorter elements. All of this programming will focus on what Mainers can do to “go green.”  Once the sponsors and our producers finalize the storyline, we’ll go into production mode, shooting, editing and mixing to create the two programs and the dozen of shorter elements.

Each of the two 30-minute programs will air several dozen times on our stations. The first program will be broadcast this July and August and the second program will go next January and February. The programs will air dozens of times during each of the two month cycles. We will schedule the programs in different time periods throughout the day to make sure that the maximum number of viewers has the opportunity to watch.

From demonstrations of green technology and green construction alternatives, to information on green power, green transportation and green cooking, each program will utilize the expertise and personalities of the four partners. Viewers and non-sponsor businesses will also be given the opportunity to participate in both television programs. A contest will be conducted prior to the creation of each television program. Each contest will solicit ideas and suggestions for green alternatives. The first contests will be open to families and the second contest will be open to the local business community. Winners in each contest will appear on-camera giving demonstrations and explaining the how’s and why’s of their ideas as part of the 30-minute programs. The winners will also receive awards and modest prizes.

Throughout the year our stations will also broadcast :30 tips that will, again, feature our partners. Four tips will be created in conjunction with each partner. The tips will be quick, easy ideas to help live a more green life, presented by the partners. Each partner will focus on their area of expertise when creating their tips and will appear on camera.

Online, all tips as well as the program segments will be assembled in a special section of our website, OurMaine.com starting in late spring. The website is almost exclusively video so the partner video content will easily integrate and be available on demand to visitors who want to review the information. Links to each partner’s website and basic contact information about each partner will be include with each of their video clips.

With two television stations and a video-centric website, Green For ME will enjoy high visibility, easy access and top-of-mind-awareness. Between the :30 tips, promos for each program, promos to visit the Green For ME section of OurMaine.com, and the multiple broadcasts of each 30-minute program, there will be a constant presence in the marketplace for Green For ME.

While this is the plan we’ve designed for our partners we are also encouraging them to make suggestions for additional elements for the campaign. Our hope is that they will build on the foundation we’ve outlined and go beyond our expectations. Possible future additions include a Green For ME fair with booths for non-profit and for-profit entities that support green initiatives, a Green For ME home built to green standards and given away to a local family, a Green For ME game show with green prizes for winning teams; the possibilities are endless!

Lots of television stations will receive public service announcements about the greening of America. Our stations felt that we could make more of an impact by finding local partners who wanted to share their knowledge and experience and were willing to participate in the creation of a bigger project.

Green For ME is starting as a one-year program but there’s no reason that it can’t become a permanent part of our stations’ programming fare. Given the ramifications of ignoring the impact we have on the environment, it’s a message that will never wear out! P

This article was written by Doug Finck who has been in broadcasting for over 30 years. It is featured in PR News' Going Green Guidebook, Volume 1. To purchase a copy, go to www.prnewsonline.com/store.