From Wash to Washington: DOE Honors Bern, Kansas
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From Wash to Washington: DOE Honors Bern, Kansas

Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program designed by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to identify and promote energy-efficient products. Being named an Energy Star Partner of the Year by the DOE is a significant achievement for appliance manufacturers.

Paul Holmes

Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program designed by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to identify and promote energy-efficient products. Being named an Energy Star Partner of the Year by the DOE is a significant achievement for appliance manufacturers. The award recognizes manufacturers who have furthered the goals of the Energy Star program through their active participation. The application for the award is very challenging and a number of different criteria are considered by the DOE in its decision.
Maytag Appliances has been active in the Energy Star program since 1997, when it became the first Energy Star appliance manufacturing partner. In addition to winning the Appliance Partner Award in 1998 and the Leadership Award in 1999, Maytag was the first and only company to become both a manufacturing and retail partner when all Maytag Home Appliance Centers across the country signed on as Energy Star Retail Partners in 2000.
In 2002 Maytag asked Carmichael Lynch Spong, the brand’s agency of record, to develop and execute a public relations campaign to promote Maytag’s commitment to the Energy Star program and reinforce Maytag’s leadership in the high-efficiency laundry category, to increase Maytag’s share-of-voice in coverage of water and energy conservation and high-efficiency washers; and to reinforce Maytag’s leadership position in the high-efficiency laundry category.
 The target audience included moms, with a particular focus on those aged between 25-54, with a household income of $50,000; legislators and regulators; and independent appliance dealers in U.S. The target media included home, lifestyle, food, technology, environment and business editors at daily and weekly newspapers, home and shelter and consumer magazines, radio, television and online media, appliance industry trade publications
The PR team researched Maytag’s past efforts in promoting the Energy Star program; and examined findings of 1997 Bern Washer Study conducted by the DOE and Maytag in Bern, Kan., which demonstrated that the Maytag Neptune’s revolutionary design uses up to 40 percent less water and 60 percent less energy than a conventional top-loading washer. It then interviewed Bern residents and local officials associated with 1997 study, and obtained DOE statistics on five years of water and energy conservation achieved in Bern, Kan., and across the U.S. thanks to the Maytag Neptune high-efficiency washer.
 The campaign then set out to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the landmark 1997 Bern Washer Study by taking the entire town of Bern, Kan., to Washington, D.C., to receive a special recognition award from the DOE. The firm secured special recognition award from DOE recognizing Bern residents for their achievements in water and energy conservation, and chartered two Boeing 737s, secured accommodations and other arrangements for nearly every resident of Bern, Kan., to go to Washington, D.C. – 250 people total.
It coordinated efforts with congressional offices of Kansas delegation to secure tours of U.S. Capitol; hired a photographer to shoot group photos at U.S. Capitol and Lincoln Memorial; shot b-roll footage of Bern residents touring U.S. Capitol and other sites and distributed it to broadcast media; arranged for U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun and DOE Assistant Secretary David Garman to join Bern residents on U.S. Capitol steps, sing “God Bless America” and pose for photographs with the Maytag Repairman and the Apprentice. It also obtained proclamation from Kansas Governor Graves declaring Sept. 17 “Learn From Bern Day”
 On the media relations front, the firm conducted a satellite media tour with Bern spokespeople and DOE Assistant Secretary David Garman announcing DOE award to the town of Bern and celebrating five years of water and energy conservation; hosted a media luncheon with remarks from DOE Assistant Secretary David Garman, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and Representatives Jim Ryun and Jerry Moran, and Maytag president Bill Beer; and distributed news release when Maytag was named 2002 Energy Star Partner of the Year.
 To support Maytag corporate efforts surrounding the Energy Star program, the PR team drafted copy for a section on Maytag Web site promoting its participation in Energy Star programs; drafted copy on Maytag’s Energy Star participation for Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s publication Changing Tides; and created PowerPoint presentation on Bern trip to Washington, D.C., that was presented to Maytag Appliances corporate senior management and board of directors
Media relations efforts promoting Maytag participation in Energy Star program resulted in more than 9 million gross impressions. The campaign secured participation of senior DOE staff in satellite media tour and media luncheon promoting Bern, Kan., the trip to Washington, D.C., and Maytag’s involvement in the Energy Star program. The campaign also reinforced working relationships between key DOE and Maytag staff.
 The national media relations campaign on Bern, Kan., trip to Washington, D.C., has generated 67.5 million gross impressions and more than 175 placements through Nov. 2002. Key messages on water and energy conservation were included in nearly all placements. Highlights include Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, Columbus Dispatch, Des Moines Register, WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.), KMBC-TV (Kansas City), WNUV-TV (Baltimore) and WNBC-TV (New York).
Maytag successfully defended its market share in 2002 from 2001 in the laundry category, despite aggressive competitive threat.
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