Columbia Water and Light created a marketing contest, working with public middle school students in the gifted education program. The program gave these students real-world experience to work with a real client, while also fitting in with the school’s curriculum. The goal of the project was twofold: to present energy efficiency marketing messages to customers in a fun way that showcased local youth’s creativity and to teach future problem-solvers to think about energy efficiency and incorporate it into their own lives.
Utility staff members spent a day in the classroom teaching the basic principles of energy efficiency and the marketing challenges utility staff face. The program has been named Columbia Youth Teaching Efficiency—a winning entry from the contest. Other categories included visual art, radio ad and haiku. The contest was so successful that Columbia Water and Light was able to base an entire energy efficiency advertising campaign around some of the entries.