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Agrimarketing : November December 2007
36 AgriMarketing November/December 2007 The EPIC Web site, drivingethanol.org, also played a critical role in raising awareness of the ethanol brand dur- ing 2007. Under the direction of Nanfito, the site was con- tinually enhanced, offering visitors an assortment of interactive features making the site more user-friendly. Consumers can register for podcasts on ethanol, and those seeking E85 have a handy tool in the E85 station locator and the flex-fuel vehicle identifier. Retailers can also visit the EPIC Web site to find information on the "e" label and how to contact the organization to find out how to upgrade their pumps to ethanol. The Web site traffic steadily increased. As of August, nearly 600,000 hits had been recorded, with a one month record of 99,000 in June. EPIC research found that it was extremely difficult to alter the opinions of consumers who had already devel- oped negative impressions about ethanol. Driving traffic to the EPIC Web site was a critical step in presenting the facts about a renewable fuel. "We are constantly looking at ways to enhance our presence in the online arena," says Nanfito. "Our hope is the Web site will become a clearinghouse for those seek- ing information on ethanol." EARNS DIVIDENDS Persistence and planning began earning dividends. The "e" logo was being noticed. On March 21, 2007, after weeks of preparation and the help of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), EPIC, RFA and the IndyCar Series joined Indiana Senator 's Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh at a news conference on Capitol Hill to highlight the racing league's transition to 100% fuel-grade ethanol. The Team Ethanol show car was parked outside the Senate Russell Office Building. It was a dream photo-op as over 20 representatives of major news organizations attended the event. Media kits were delivered to all the major media outlets in the D.C. region, focusing on net- work news bureaus, who distributed the material to affili- ates across the U.S and throughout the world. EPIC's Dir of Comms Joanna Schroeder directed the PR strategy in tandem with Broadhead + Co., a Minneapolis, MN, based agency. Schroeder and Nanfito wove the PR and marketing efforts together like a fine quilt, with stunning results. "It became a well-oiled machine," says Schroeder. "We took this show on the road, and the momentum never slowed." A large part of EPIC's road show was their Clean Air Green Tour that highlighted ethanol's environmental ben- efits at 80 events coast to coast and pump promotions in conjunction with IndyCar Series races. A television spot also touted the benefits of ethanol during each ESPN- televised Indy race. With Indy, a Washington, D.C. news conference pro- vided tremendous momentum heading into the first race of the season for the IndyCar Series on Saturday, March 24, 2007, in Miami, FL. Many of the television stations aired pieces on the race but used footage of the Capitol Hill event as part of their package. The video was the gift that kept on giving to the ethanol movement. ABC's "World News Sunday," CBS "Evening News," the Weather Channel, CNBC, ESPN, and major market affiliates across the country featured lengthy reports on the historic fuel switch. The Washington Post, Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, USA Today, Des Moines Register, and Sacramento Bee were among the papers that ran features on the topic. BUILDING MOMENTUM To build momentum as they neared the crown jewel of the IndyCar Series schedule --- the Indy 500 --- EPIC and Broadhead returned to the nation's capitol. They secured an invitation for racing legend Bobby Rahal to be the speaker in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club's distinguished luncheon speaker series. His topic: "The Greening of Racing: Ethanol and Motorsports." Rahal became the first and only Indy 500 winner to be invited to speak at the prestigious club. The event was tele- vised live on CSPAN, and drew international coverage. "I was pleased and honored to be chosen to address the National Press Club, and to have the opportunity to speak on the same stage where I have seen many of the world's leaders and dignitaries share their thoughts," Rahal says. To keep the media momentum throughout the season, EPIC and Broadhead focused on editorials on the subject written by Team Ethanol Driver Jeff Simmons and Team Owner Bobby Rahal in the Miami Herald, Milwaukee Journal and the Indianapolis Star. Following the Indy 500, the campaign focused on regional and local coverage throughout the remainder of the race season. "Our objective was to highlight ethanol's performance in one of the most demanding environments in motor- sports," says EPIC's Slunecka. "The campaign was designed to prove to consumers that performance and environmental responsibility can co-exist not only in high-tech race cars at top speeds, but in the average sedan on highways across the country." RESULTS By any measure, the public relations and marketing cam- paigns were a dazzling success. Year to date, more than 600 million media impressions were generated through all PR initiatives. An additional 300 million impressions were generated through marketing initiatives. The "e" logo had arrived! In 2007, the EPIC and IndyCar Series partnership can be summed up with a quote from Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." AM CREATING BRAND IDENTITY/continued from page 34 EPIC was a sponsor of explorer Will Steger' Global Warming 101 Expedition to Baffin Island in the Canadian Artic. Steger's four-month dogsled trek drew attention to the impact of global warming on the Artic region. Pictured far right is EPIC Dir Tom Slunecka who joined Steger at the conclusion of the expedition.
2008 Marketing Services Guide