MiC‘s K.I.S.S. pick -
OPG instantly communicates what’s watt

Ontario Power Generation's giant video billboard atop a busy expressway isn't really an homage to McDonald's 'X billion served' shtick. But it gets the same sort of punchy message across just as quickly.

Toronto’s Partners + Edell came up with a dynamic solution when Ontario Power Generation asked for a way to boost its brand by conveying that it is Ontario’s major electricity generator, and also to educate consumers about energy conservation. The concept his creative team produced, agency president Dennis Edell tells MiC, is a visual countdown that shows the fluctuating wattage of power output from OPG stations at almost any given moment.

Updated every 10 minutes via electronic video feed, the message reading (for example) ‘Generating 13,923 Megawatts’ was placed on a shared billboard at a particularly busy point on Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway late last month. The buy, which was handled by local agency Gaggi Media Communications, is for 12 weeks, during which OPG’s message is expected to garner 1.2 million impressions. Other components of the campaign include newspaper, radio and online.

Edell says that, judging from ‘a lot of positive feedback,’ the billboard lesson is hitting home. ‘People don’t really know what 12,000 or 14,000 megawatts means. But seeing the numbers go up and down, depending on the weather and (the corresponding) usage helps them benchmark what the demand for power actually is.’

Edell also told MiC about another recent coup. Shortly after the company he founded in 2002 teamed with NYC-based The Partners Group last month, producing a strategic partnership dubbed Partners + Edell, the combo landed a major client in Points.com – a huge American clearinghouse that enables frequent flyers to exchange travel credits. Their first initiative for Points.com began enlivening New York’s Times Square this week, just in time for American Thanksgiving traffic. It’s a huge billboard featuring the entertaining video Points Dexter and the Dog, which Edell estimates will attract 1.5 million impressions during its Nov. 20-30 run.

Edell’s Toronto teams did the creative for this board and engaged a New York agency called First Media to do the buy. ‘But,’ he adds, ‘much as I wish we could take credit for getting that incredible (billboard) location, it was Points.com that actually grabbed it in time for the Macy’s parade.’