David vs. Goliath – Media Field Day on Prop 16

Grassroots Virtual Campaigning
Our launch into the ballot scene — the bi-annual event where the decision-maker is actually we, the people — started in June 2010. Our out-of-a-studio-apartment-everyman campaign against Prop 16 lead to to the at-a-studio-lot-celebrity campaign.

David vs. Goliath:
One Million Strong Against Prop 16 w/ One Millionth the Budget of PG&E

Political speech no longer belongs to the highest bidder. A team with proper tools and time can use social media to reach the world just as easily as those who steal their customers’ money to wage political campaigns geared toward making them ever-higher profits. To beat this California monopoly’s ballot proposition, we created a story of Right vs. Might, Big Corporation vs. Real People, Money vs. Middle America… earned media knows a good story.

Background: An energy monopoly tried to trick Californians into voting away their communities’ right to offer cleaner, cheaper energy – community choice aggregation programs that compete with PG&E – by spending between $46 million and $50 million of their customers’ money on a traditional one-way TV and mailer barrage to push their “Taxpayer’s Right to Vote”.

Our campaign, not keen to fight a flame thrower with a candle, decided to work around them by creating a good story to (as seen on KGO-ABC) and create buzz. We pledged to spend one millionth of PG&E’s budget on a multi-way social media discussion, making our work seem as amateure/homemade as possible, to convince one million voters to vote against it.

We won, ecstatic to be part of a team to garner the Best of the Bay Award, for winning a fight with the largest spending differential between the losing and winning campaigns in US history.

Since that win, communicty choice aggregation (aka CCA, or community choice energy) has spread all over not only California, but to other states as well, resulting in enormous reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  These CCAs are the main instrument through which California and other states are meeting their climate emission reduction goals.


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