The Northern Pass Project

Defining an image, infrastructure and creative communications to raise awareness and generate public support


Dirty politics contaminated a source of clean energy.

The Northern Pass (NP) is a proposed hydro-electricity project designed to transmit 1200 megawatts of renewable energy from Quebec to the New England power pool, via mainly existing Public Service of New Hampshire power lines.

The project is a partnership between Hydro-Quebec and Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest energy.

More than 60% of New Hampshire residents were unaware of the project and its benefits. A small, well-funded opposition (<10%) began to sway public opinion through an emotional and negative grassroots campaign. In a matter of weeks, the Pass became synonymous with eminent domain (unlawful land grabs), reliance on foreign energy, destruction of the White Mountain National Forest, and taxpayer cost, none of which were real.

Clarity and truth are good friends to have.

Our task was to create a defined image, communications infrastructure, message hierarchy, and relevant creative campaign to raise awareness, deliver fact-based, project-specific information, generate support, and foster good will for the NP project. Secondarily, we needed to inform and educate legislators and government organizations with project facts and benefits.

Audiences included homeowners, small business owners, legislators, environmental societies, local government, labor groups, and PSNH employees.

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If you’ve got something important to say to a Granite Stater, have a Granite Stater say it.

Research revealed that the state motto of “live free or die” is woven widely into the fabric of New Hampshire. Granite Staters are honest, hard-working, and willing to stand up and say what’s on their minds.

The key to delivering our three key messages—energy stability, economic strength and environmental protection—was through the words of Granite Staters themselves, whose authentic, heartfelt stories demonstrated the short- and long-term benefits of the Northern Pass project.

Creative

 


Turning a frown upside down

The campaign successfully drove a 16% increase in “very positive” attitudes about the project, and tempered the “very negative” attitudes, which were driven down 12%.

Campaign ad message recall peaked at 88 percent.

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