It should come as no surprise that the best kind of marketing is the kind that makes a difference. That’s the reason it is important to make sure that events promoting positive change have a well-thought out campaign.
Energy-conservation has become a huge industry as more and more people realize the important of making the most of the planet we have. Events that celebrate sustainability and a cleaner environment are becoming increasingly popular their success is directly connected to the marketing campaigns they have in place. With similar events taking place in our hometown of Vancouver, we figured we’d take a few eco-friendly cues from similar events from around the world.
Car Free Day Vancouver
Vancouver prides itself on its sustainability and energy-saving approach to the way things are done. So it goes as no surprise that one of the events that bring out the masses is Car Free Day Vancouver. Now in its twelfth year, the event started in 2005 run by over 300 volunteers. The purpose of the event is to promote active transportation, public spaces and clean energy. The event has spread to a two-day event that takes place in 5 neighbourhoods around the city and draws nearly 400,000 attendees in total. Over the weekend the street shuts down to cars, live music takes over the streets, block parties get underway, vendors and eateries spill onto the sidewalk, as well as hundreds of local business who come out to support the great cause. This type of event isn’t unique to Vancouver, though. It’s the fifth city to have the occasion implemented by the World Car Free Network.
In the age of high-speed everything, people are collectively yearning to have a focus on conserving energy and the environment. In addition to public support, the campaigns used to promote these programs have had a big impact in its overall success. There are some key elements of how to do things right and make this great event not just popular, but meaningful as well.
The Art of the Traffic Jam
In some cases, the best type of marketing is the kind you can physically experience, such was the case in the Republic of Latvia. In conjunction with their International Car Free Day, event organizers wanted to make sure people took notice of their event. In order to show just how much space gets wasted by cars, and especially just one person in a car, planners created wearable “cars” that could be attached to a bicycle. These contraptions were made of bamboo and twine, and although light, took up the same surface area as a regular car. They then rode these vehicles to work. The additional space taken up by these usually slim bikes created congestion and traffic jams – but sent a very strong message. Because a surge in traffic and vehicles had been experienced in Latvia in recent years, this highly visual demonstration emphasized the concept of “phantom space” around urban and metro areas. Their campaign created quite a stir on social media and thousands of photos were snapped of the bike-car hybrids and posted everywhere – mainly to the Latvian social media network vk.com.
Their campaign emphasized the lack of efficient urban space around the city, as well as promoted just how much of a difference riding (just!) a bike can make. This marketing campaign was so clever and impactful because instead of just seeing or reading about it, people affected by the issue truly experienced it. This idea could have the same, if not a larger impact on the Vancouver area, and shows us how to create a true marketing experience.
The More the Merrier
Arlington, Virginia’s Car Free Day had on goal in mind – encouraging their residents to ditch their vehicles or try going car-free or “car-lite” They came up with several aspects of their campaign, which goes to show that sometimes several small pieces of a campaign can join together to create one big one. They wanted the overall outcome to be residents opting to bike, walk, take transit or telecommute to work – even if it was just once. From this, grew the “What’s Your One?” aspect of the campaign. Designed to have people in the community start going “car-lite” just by choosing one trip to go car free. They understood that combining together several smaller ideas together can combine to create one very successful campaign.
Source: Youtube – CarFreeDiet
Another great idea was creating their website which had a calculator that showed just how much money people could save by choosing other transportations to work, as well as how many calories you could lose by choosing a more active route. A very smart idea, as both money and health are highly important aspects to market towards – people love their wallets, and they love their looks.
Another well-thought out aspect of this campaign was a follow-up study that was conducted to gauge the overall impact and effectiveness. A focus group was held and surveyed to see just how memorable the ads and website really were. This study found that most people found the campaign appealing, with 26 total people finding it “very appealing” and only 5 found it “unappealing.” It was also found that it was the message and “What’s Your One?” slogan on the ads that caught people’s attention the most. Also, 75% of people surveyed felt that they could truly take part in the event, with half taking further action to learn more.
Overall, hard work paid off with how big of a reach was created. The main message that can be taken from this specific campaign is that a few smart ideas, when combined, can create a much bigger impact. Car Free Day Vancouver is an event that could see some great things from implementing just a few of these ideas, making the event even a walk (or bike!) in the park.
From Latvia to Virginia to Vancouver it’s obvious that the idea of conserving energy is more than a trend or fad. As the topic becomes increasingly popular to people all over the world, new ideas about how to promote these events continue to be made. Whether it’s by demonstration or by creating a conversation, the most important thing is to create a campaign that promotes positive change.Header Photo: Unsplash.com
If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations