Memo outlines history and success of 'clean coal' propaganda campaign
Ever wondered about the inner workings of the "clean coal" propaganda campaign? Wondered how the rancid sausage was made?
Lucky for you, the Hawthorn Group — the PR firm hired by ACCCE to mount and run the campaign — recently published a memo "to friends and family" merrily laying out the details.
Even in a communication-saturated environment we achieved, even exceeded, our wildest expectations (and we believe those of our client!). Not only did we raise the awareness of the issue, but we got the major candidates on both sides of the aisle talking about the issue in the debates, at campaign rallies and in interviews. We did this by finding creative ways to increase the visibility of the issue and by demonstrating strong voter support. We successfully integrated traditional communication and grassroots tactics with online strategies and tools.
The presidential campaign concluded with both candidates, their running mates and surrogates talking about and supporting clean coal technology. The issue was mentioned in all four general election debates. This was a 180-degree turn from earlier in the campaign when none of the candidates were focused on this issue.
The program also had an impact on the perception of coal among public opinion leaders. In September 2007, on the key measurement question — Do you support/oppose the use of coal to generate electricity? — we found 46 percent support and 50 percent oppose. In a 2008 year-end survey that result had shifted to 72 percent support and 22 percent oppose. Not only did we see significantly increased support, opposition was cut by more than half.