Bob Mackin (Updated Nov. 1)
In the climax of a four-part social media video series, BC Hydro’s bearded, cardigan-wearing spokesman Dave Mix boasts that he drove from Tofino to the Alberta border in an electric car with “no emissions and it cost me about 30 bucks.”
The Dave’s Clean Getaway ad campaign, which dovetails with the NDP government’s CleanBC program, cost almost $220,000 and included airplane travel for the star and two others.
That, says an expert, broke “rule number one” of green marketing.
“If you’re going to send out that green message, what’s the bottom line message? Be very damn clear everything related to it is green,” said Lindsay Meredith, Simon Fraser University professor emeritus of marketing.
The production schedule, released under the freedom of information law, shows arrival in Tofino from Vancouver on Pacific Coastal Airlines and a flight out of Nanaimo back to Vancouver at the end of the third day of production. The Vancouver to Kamloops leg ended with a flight from Fulton Field Airport back to YVR. For the Kamloops-Revelstoke-Yoho National Park leg, the crew flew from Vancouver International Airport to Kamloops and picked up a rental vehicle at Budget before retrieving the electric car at a BC Hydro office.
BC Hydro spokeswoman Susie Rieder said by email that the Vancouver Island leg was shot April 28-30; Vancouver to Kamloops May 6-8; and Kamloops-Revelstoke-Yoho May 13-17.
“Because the trip was broken up into different legs, short breaks were taken for pre-production,” Rieder said. “Some crew members flew back to the city then on to different locations in order to prepare for the next leg of the trip. That being said, the car did make the whole trip from Tofino to Yoho National Park.”
It took another three days for Rieder to respond to followup questions about how many crew members traveled by plane and how many flights Dave took.
Rieder said Dave drove the entire trip in the electric vehicle, leg-by-leg, but she admitted that he flew back to Vancouver with two other crew members “so that they could get back to the office as quickly as possible and conduct other work.”
BC Hydro’s most-recent statement of financial information showed that Mix, whose official title is recovery manager, was paid $133,742 last year and billed $8,733 for expenses.
One of the trio’s flights was from Nanaimo to Vancouver. Rieder said they flew rather than sailing on BC Ferries to save a combined three to four hours productive work time.
theBreaker.news wanted to know the make and model of the vehicle the crew rented in Kamloops, but Rieder would only say it was a “small sedan.” A Budget customer service representative told theBreaker.news that the location does not have an electric or hybrid vehicle in the fleet.
Meredith said the choice to use air travel does not totally negate the power of the message, but it does damage BC Hydro’s credibility.
“To produce this production, which is all about let’s go green, we lose track of how many hundreds of gallons of jet fuel got consumed moving these people back and forth,” Meredith said. “That, in the end, is going to wind up being a trap.”
Documents provided to theBreaker.news show BC Hydro contracted Basetwo Media for video and post-production; Smak for production, logistics and coordination; Quietly Media for ad buying; and Rival for market research. BC Hydro research claims the videos were viewed 768,850 times on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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