Poet, Growth Energy launch TV ad campaigns

By Luke Geiver | May 21, 2010
New advertising and promotional initiatives launched by Growth Energy and Poet LLC, have brought ethanol out of the field and onto TV. Combined with another educational campaign on sugarcane-based ethanol by UNICA, the promotion of ethanol in the U.S. and South America has reached a level not seen before.

In April, UNICA started a national ethanol awareness campaign aimed at explaining sugarcane ethanol's benefits. The educational efforts include a new Web site, www.SweeterAlternative.com, along with print and radio advertisements, new research on sugarcane ethanol, and a partnership between UNICA and the Indy Racing League. The Brazilian campaign costs "less than one-tenth" of Growth Energy's efforts, according to James Hill, a UNICA spokesman, and will feature ads in publications such as Roll Call, National Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Politico throughout the month of April. The ads depict the Capitol building overlaid by a sugarcane field and a fuel dispenser nozzle, saying "It's time to raise a little sugar' cane." Hill notes that the largest portion of UNICA's initiative is the Web site which features descriptive sections on the energy security, economic and environmental benefits of sugarcane-based ethanol.

During the same month, Growth Energy and Poet both kicked off new ethanol-themed commercials. At a press conference unveiling the new commercials, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said the commercials tell the true story of ethanol. "For too long, we have allowed our opponents to define who we are. That ends today," Buis said. "We cannot match the other side dollar for dollar, but that is not going to prevent us from being in the fight. Ethanol is America's fuel. Ethanol creates jobs, cleans the air and strengthens our national and economic security."

The ads in the $2.5 million campaign from Growth Energy will air for six months beginning in April on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and HLN networks. The ads are simple, almost stark. The display on the screen shows a green backdrop with a single statement in the center such as "No beaches have been closed due to ethanol spills," or "We won't have to wait millions of years to replenish our ethanol reserves." After the initial statement appears, that statement is replaced by a phrase such as "America's Economic Fuel" or "America's Renewable Fuel."

"This campaign demonstrates the leadership of Growth Energy's members, and shows a certain maturity in the ethanol industry," said Jim Nussle, a member of the board of directors for Growth Energy. "With this campaign we are talking directly to the public, in their living rooms, with a message that makes quite clear precisely why ethanol is America's fuel."

Airing on the same stations as Growth Energy, the Poet commercials present a positive face for ethanol. Echoing Buis's comments, Poet senior vice president of communications Greg Breukelman said, "Poet and the ethanol industry as a whole have a great story to tell. It's time we took our message to a broader audience, and this campaign allows us to do that."

The three Poet commercials include a scientist, an ethanol plant manager and a farmer. Filmed in New York at prominent and well-known locations including Times Square, the ads play on the company's name with the speakers reciting free-verse poetry. The subject: ethanol. The scientist, a young woman in a white lab coat, stands in Times Square and speaks out loud to the array of people walking by. "I'm not the next top model. I won't be America's first female president, but that doesn't make what I do any less important," she says. "I turn waste into fueland one day, I'll let you tell the Middle East where they can ship their tankers."

To check out UNICA's campaign for sugarcane-based ethanol visit their Web site and follow the links. To view the Growth Energy commercial series visit www.growthenergy.org/news-media-center/broadcast-media/americas-fuel-campaign. To view Poet's visit http://www.youtube.com/poettv.