Sharp 1080P D82 Challenge goes live

I seem to be blogging rather more about client work these days than I ever have in the past. Take this as a signal that I’m really engaged in my work here at TFC. I’ve always tried to keep overt client pitchery to a minimum here, but every now and then my enthusiasm for a specific client project froths over. I’m hoping long-time readers will indulge my little moments of uncontrolled excitement.

After two intense months of long hours and terrific effort from both the TFC and 76Design teams, our first major project for Sharp Electronics of Canada went live this morning. The coolest thing about this, on a personal level is that the program we just launched is the original program we pitched when we were competing for the business.

When we were doing our research to get our collective heads around the Sharp account, one of the things we discovered is that the company has made a genuine commitment to action on climate change. They’ve set themselves a goal to achieve “zero global warming impact by 2010”, and they’re deadly serious about this. There are lots of companies jumping on the Green bandwagon, but Sharp is clearly walking the talk – and have been for some time.

So this got us thinking...

Green is the new black (as a friend and colleague once said). Everywhere you look – on TV, in magazines, and on the news – environmental awareness is the story of the year. Given the chance to work with a client that is clearly doing their part, it makes sense to throw some light on this aspect of their business.

The problem with environmental awareness is that while most people acknowledge the issue, getting people to change their habits can be hard.

A story on CBC Newsworld the other day illustrates the point here. Ontario’s Environment Minister, Laurel Broten, announced the Province’s plan to cut plastic bag use by 50%. In the TV coverage, CBC interviewed a bunch of different people who all agreed that they hated plastic bags and only continued to use them out of habit. The reporter on CBC suggested that people are willing to change, but they need something to spur them into altering their accustomed behaviour.

With this kind of thought in mind, and playing around with the details of one of Sharp’s latest TV model numbers, my creatively-talented colleague Tamera Kremer came up with an idea. What if we created a national online Eco Challenge, that would encourage Canadians to do the right thing for the planet and give them a big incentive to do so?

And so, the AQUOS 1080P D82 Challenge was born.

The idea: take 80 Canadians, from right across the country (all 10 provinces, plus Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut), and have them compete to reduce their carbon footprint. Winner gets to go home with a beautiful 52” AQUOS “Green TV”.

10 Provinces; 80 People; 82 Days to make a difference – hence, 1080P D82.

We figured on two stages: a recruitment round, open to all Canadians, to get people signing up to take part. Then we sort all entries by location, and randomly select 80 participants to be entered into the actual 82 day challenge. In stage two, each of the 80 challengers “weighs in” is set up with their own online journals, so they can record their progress as they work to reduce their personal burden on the environment.

At the end of the program, all participants are winners; they’ve saved money, helped save the planet, and we have a stack of great Sharp goodies for them to take away. Groovy – doing good, and winning big.

We built a full site mockup and a plan for how we’d launch this program for our final presentation to the Sharp team and, well, I guess they must have really liked it. We won the business, and now we’re actually getting to execute the program we pitched.

The 1080P D82 Challenge site just went live. Now we’re into pitching till we’re hoarse.

Again, pardon the full-frontal client and employer ego-fluffing here, but this really is cool stuff. This is the kind of campaign that makes me utterly love my job.