One Million South African Households Switch Off for WWF Earth Hour

Cape Town - Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town's TV, radio, online and social media campaign for Earth Hour has been hailed a great success in helping to inspire more than 1 million South African households to switch off their lights on 27th March from 20h30-21h30.

The primary objective of the campaign, which ran from 1st March to 27th March, was to get active consumer participation, thereby creating awareness of energy efficiency and the necessity to reduce one's carbon footprint.

"We are very proud to be a part of such a worthwhile global cause once again and to be given the opportunity to build substantially on last years campaign, the results are extremely encouraging," says Anton Crone, Executive Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town.

According to Eskom figures, South Africans contributed 420MW electricity savings to the Earth Hour initiative, translating into about 4-million 100W bulbs, or 6.7-million 60W bulbs switched off on Saturday, meaning that between 1 and 4 million South Africans participated in the event.

When discussing the chosen media Crone says the majority of the campaign communication focused on using an online component on the website. "Along with signing up and pledging we constantly updated press releases, Flickr streams, widgets as well as offered downloadable kits to businesses, organisations, schools and individuals to give them further details as how they can make a difference and get involved," he says.

In an effort to keep the carbon footprint of the initiative at a minimum Crone says that the amount of campaign printed materials was limited. "We designed wobblers and posters that were posted online and supporters were then able to print them out and post them around their offices if they wished to participate. The Facebook group for Earth Hour has an astounding 383,850 fans."

The TV and radio commercials featured the South African ambassadors of the campaign including, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Parlatones, Dion Meyer, Charlene Truter, Dave Pepler, Hannes van Wyk, Jo-Anne Strauss, Marc Lottering, Ryk Neethling, Derek van Dam, Francois Groepe, The Maroka Swallows and The Stormers.

Crone says that anyone who got involved in the initiative can be very proud that they contributed to the saving of 400 tons of carbon dioxide, 224 tons of coal and some 576 kilolitres of water due to the power stations not needing to generate the 400MW.

Globally, the results of the campaign were incredibly successful, this year a record 126 countries participated, with hundreds of millions of people in over 4,000 cities and towns taking part in delivering a powerful message of hope for a better, healthier planet.

Famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London, the Pyramids in Egypt and the Victoria Falls went dark. On home ground Table Mountain and Green Point stadium in Cape Town switched off along with the Moses Mahdiba stadium in Durban and the Vodacom tower in Johannesburg.

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