A Fresh Approach to Clean Energy

Focus group research tells us that American’s overwhelmingly support clean energy.  They just don’t always like the way environmentalists talk about.  Based on qualitative research in Minnesota and Michigan, MSC is helping advocates in the Midwest find a common language.  We developed a frame and distinct message positions to support clean energy legislation and drive the transition to a clean future.  We’ve shared these findings with over 200 advocates at RE-AMPS annual meeting and during a handful of working groups.  

Less Fuss, More Recycling

Conservation Minnesota had a better idea – a recycling refund that would save Minnesota taxpayers $100 million dollars a year and double the amount of recycling. No Brainer? You got that right! Slam dunk legislation? Not in this day and age! Working with Conservation Minnesota, MSC crafted an advertising message and plan to reach Minnesotans at their summer homes -- the ballpark and the lake -- running ads during Minnesota Twins baseball games and online to build support for the Recycling Refund.

By any other name…A Rose!

What to do with a great policy that has an unfortunate name? Change it!  Feed-in Tariffs – the Chinese gooseberry of energy policy -- are a proven tool for driving the adoption of clean, renewable energy across the globe.  But in the U.S., its policy handle was creating political heartburn. Working with advocates and foundations, MSC used qualitative research to develop an alternative name for FIT. Then, MSC helped rebrand and refocus messaging with advocates, local and state agencies and officials, to spur the development of a CLEAN energy policy.

Beating the Big Money Tsunami

While big firms went belly-up -- losing race after race in 2010 -- MSC helped our candidates stay belly-down (a lesson we learned from the mighty Armadillo). Congressman Ron Kind beat a $2.1 million dollar negative advertising tsunami; Congressman Steny Hoyer turned back a formidable Tea Party candidate; and Mayor Chris Beutler won a second term in Lincoln, NE.  MSC is now five for five in red state campaigns.

Traveling to Alberta? Think Again!

You might think of Alberta as the home of Banff, picturesque mountains, and a majestic boreal forest.  But it is also home to one of the largest global oil disasters – the Alberta Tar Sands.  MSC teamed up with Corporate Ethics International and other NGOs to design and run a coordinated online and digital billboard campaign across London and the U.K. to begin changing perceptions of Canadian environment and ethics globally.

Say Goodbye Nuclear…Goodbye

Working with Vermont Public Interest Group, MSC helped develop the message and online ad campaign advocating for the timely retirement of Vermont Yankee.  The result:  the Vermont Senate voted to put the dangerous old power plant out to pasture-- the first time in history a state legislature denied a nuclear plant a 20 year extension. 

AvaTAR SANDS -- Oscar-Winning Material!

Since the launch of their paid media efforts, MacWilliams Sanders Communication has been proud to work with Corporate Ethics International and other environmental advocacy coalitions to increase awareness about the environmental havoc wreaked by tar sands mining in Alberta, Canada. 

Most recently, we were delighted to work with the Tar Sands coalition to produce a full-page ad in Variety linking the tar sands mining across Canada to the mining of Pandora's unobtanium in Director James Cameron's Oscar-winning movie, Avatar.  


The ad was released in this year's Oscar's Special Issue; in addition to the broad circulation of the magazine, the Tar Sands ad also garnered over 10,000 impressions on variety.com. 
For more information on the ad and the broader tar sands environmental campaign, please visit www.dirtyoilsands.org. 


Victory in Vermont

The year is 2010.  Vermont Yankee is a 40 year old, antiquated and outdated power plant.  Reports surface of tritium leaks being discovered into the local Connecticut River valley.  Vermont Yankee's license is up for renewal, but a state law requires the Vermont State Senate must approve relicensing the aging, leaking plant.

Enter VPIRG and other progressive businesses across the state, who launch a concerted effort to convince state senators to vote against relicensing Vermont Yankee.  They in turn hired MSC to create a comprehensive messaging strategy as well as an integrated, targeted online campaign across key legislative districts in Vermont. 

MSC helped deliver over 6 million impressions and sent nearly 5,000 visitors to the VPIRG website, where concerned citizens could learn how to contact their legislators and what they could do to protect the Green Mountain State.  For more information on the campaign and VPIRG's work to block renewal of Vermont Yankee, please visit www.NotSafeNotTrustworthy.org. 

KINDness in the Community

MSC has been integral in the process of helping Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) launch a community service project to engage volunteers around the 3rd Congressional District in western Wisconsin.  Since its birth in late 2009, Kind Communities projects have used online ads to engage volunteer help.  

These  community service projects have included the refurbishing of a women's refuge home in Eau Claire, feeding the hungry in La Crosse, augmenting the work of Habitat for Humanity in New Richmond, and helping veterans and the elderly.  We are excited to continue working with the Kind Volunteers to engage the spirit of compassion and help communities help themselves across western Wisconsin.  

To learn more about Kind Communities service projects, please visit www.ronkind.org/kindcommunities.cfm. 

Saving the Bay Saves Jobs

MSC is currently working with the Maryland Budget Campaign and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to develop top line messaging and a complete online campaign to raise awareness about Maryland's potential budget cuts.  Such cuts would eliminate funding for environmental programs.  Losing these programs would cost the state important jobs in the environmental sector and would put the state's beautiful natural resources at risk. 

To raise awareness among the state legislators in the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis as well as Marylanders across the state, MSC developed a messaging and a comprehensive online campaign across Facebook and a host of local online platforms to spread the word and save environmental funding.  To learn more about the campaign and the work of CBF and the Budget Coalition, please visit www.SupportGoodMDJobs.com.  

Messages in Minnesota

Of late, we've been delighted to work once more with Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP).  Our latest project has included the development of messaging in six states on clean energy for organizations and candidates to use in the coming election season. 

We are proud to have worked with MEP for almost a decade, especially as they are one of the most cutting edge environmental coalitions in the country.  For more on the work of MEP and their work to protect and restore Minnesota's environment, please visit www.mepartnership.org. 

AvaTAR Sands

What does the film Avatar and the Alberta Tar Sands – one of the largest ecological disasters – have in common? Everything.  Canadian-born James Cameron drew inspiration for his movie from the devastation taking place in his own backyard.  MSC teamed up with 30 organizations and used Avatar to draw attention to the disaster unfolding in Alberta.   We ran an ad campaign in the Oscar edition of Hollywood’s Variety linking James Cameron’s dark picture of an alien world with the wreckage of the Alberta Tar Sands.  


Copenhagen and Canada's Climate Crime

Using a highly-targeted,  integrated online and mobile ad strategy -- and working closely with Google -- MSC launched a revolutionary campaign to reach delegation audiences at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark as well as decision makers in Ottawa, Washington DC, New York, Toronto, and other major North American cities. 

The campaign aimed to educate global opinion leaders about the devastation to the world’s climate and Canada’s environment of oil sands mining in Alberta. The climate conference in Copenhagen provided a unique opportunity to target opinion leaders phones and laptops.  In order to attract attention to such an important environmental issue at such a critical time, we created three different flights of banner and text ads.

MSC multi-layered targeting approach to delivered flash, banner, and text ads that generated unprecedented click throughs on both continents, driving online and mobile traffic to the dirtyoilsands.org website. The campaign’s click through rate was ten times the average performance of ads placed on the Google’s advertising network, demonstrating the effectiveness of the creative and targeting.


Insurance Puppets

UPDATED: MSC worked with Public Campaign this December to produce a new online ad campaign that aired in Washington, DC and in targeted states.  The campaign exposed the connection between Senators who are trying to block efforts to achieve health care reform and the campaign money they have received from big insurance interests.

Ads featuring Senators McConnell, Lieberman, Grassley, and Burr were served millions of times to DC's decision makers and influentials computers, laptops and mobile phones. The ads performed well in DC and even better in Senators' home states, generating click through rates as high as five times the average ad performance across Google's advertising network.

For more information on the campaign and to learn more about the work of our friends at Public Campaign, please visit insurancepuppets.org.


"Minnesota Nice" Work

MSC is excited to be working again with the Minnesota Environmental Partnership.  We're hard at work analyzing public opinion research, messaging, and polling to help MEP focus on the right priorities in the coming year. MEP and its partners have made significant contributions to protecting Minnesotans health, natural resources, and quality of life in the past decade. With a busy legislative and electoral season around the corner, MEP will be positioned once again to make real progress.

Hooks, Lines, and Thinkers

Some of the best stewards of the environment have always been hunters and anglers -- the men and women who love spending time fishing and hunting in the outdoors, and who want to protect the forests and waters where fish and game can be found.  We are working with the Sierra Club's Sierra Sportsmen group to expand their outreach to outdoors enthusiasts, hunters, and anglers nationwide through a revolutionary online advertising campaign.