Tagged 'natural diaster'

Duracell, Verizon, AT&T offer electricity for hurricane victims

During disasters and the prolonged relief efforts that follow, access to information and the ability to connect with loved ones is crucial to alleviating anxiety—which we noted back in 2010, following the Chilean earthquake, and last year, after Hurricane Irene. Now, in the wake of Sandy, one of the largest hurricanes to hit the United States, companies large and small are stepping in to help with at least one major issue for victims—lack of power.

Duracell unleashed a “Power Forward Community Center” in New York City’s Battery Park, enabling people to charge devices and also get online at computer terminals. And the company’s “Rapid Responder” four-by-four truck, which is suited up with power outlets, is roaming the streets of New York and Hoboken, N.J. People can also get free Duracell batteries to keep their radios and flashlights going.

Similarly, Verizon sent out mobile charging stations to several affected areas in New Jersey, West Virginia and Ohio. Yesterday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said AT&T will provide charging spots at the food and water stations the city is setting up. And, in areas where they are operational, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile retail outlets are allowing visitors to charge their devices in-store. Some local businesses also lent a hand where they could: In New York City’s East Village, for example, one restaurant, Percy’s Tavern, posted a sign reading “Friends and neighbors, please make use of our generators for phone charging to contact friends & family to let them know how you are.”

During times of distress, relatively low-cost gestures like these can go a long way in restoring a sense of normalcy for people affected while building good will toward the brand.

Photo Credit: news.verizonwireless.com

In Japan, Kit Kat decorates Tohoku train with messages of support

In Japan, Kit Kat has launched World Variety, a new multi-pack with three Kit Kat flavors from around the world. With each purchase Kit Kat is donating 20 yen to the Sanriku Railway, a vital lifeline for many Tohoku coastal communities, which were heavily damaged by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. With the reopening of a key section of the railway line this month, the brand is also decorating the outside of trains with messages of hope and goodwill from Kit Kat fans around the world. Fans can submit messages of support in their language to the brand’s Facebook page.

We called this initiative Kit Zutto Project to let people in Tohoku know we will be there for them: Kitto means “surely” and zutto “for a long time.” Last July, we posted about Kit Kat selling a special Northern Japanese flavor nationwide, with Nestlé donating a portion of sales to the Japanese Red Cross.

Yahoo! responds to Japan’s energy shortage with ‘Power Usage Indicator’

As a result of the earthquake and nuclear crisis, a shortage of power has become an everyday issue for Japanese consumers and businesses. There is a growing concern that this will impact economic recovery, with factories stopping operations every now and then, commuters delayed by trains that periodically stop or slow down, and shops and restaurants closing earlier. People have become extremely conscious of the need to conserve power in their everyday lives, especially with the hot summer approaching, a time when power usage peaks with use of air-conditioning.

Shortly after the earthquake, Yahoo! started displaying a “Power Usage Indicator” on its home page. It uses data from the utility TEPCO to show how much power is being used, updated by the hour, giving people a tangible way to gauge the current situation. Until the earthquake, most people didn’t think much about their energy consumption and used power as if the supply were infinite. The indicator makes people constantly aware of the issue and lets them know when to be especially careful about their own usage.

This is a good example of “branded utility”—finding practical ways to help people in response to the difficulties that arise during our recovery process.


「節電促進の為の電力使用状況アプリYahoo!トップページにて」
森田尚子 - 東京

東日本大震災と福島原発危機の結果、日本の消費者やビジネス界にとって電力不足は日常的な課題となった。停電による工場生産ラインの停滞、交通機関の乱れ、飲食店の閉店等、生活や経済復興への悪影響に対する懸念が広がった。そのような状況の中、人々の日常における節電意識への高まりは当たり前の現象となり、特に数ヶ月後に予想されているエアコン需要に伴う夏場の電力使用ピークに向けての電力不足への不安が増してきている。

震災後間もなく、電力使用状況を示すインディケーターアプリがYahoo!等のトップページに登場。常に一目で電力消費状況が確認できるようになっているこのアプリへの情報提供は東京電力。震災以前はほとんどの人々が自分たちの電力消費量など考えたこともなく、電気は制限なく供給されるものだという意識の中で電力を消費し続けていた。しかしこのような電力使用状況インディケーターがYahoo!等のトップページに常にあることで、毎時変化していく電力使用状況を具体的に見ることになる。それにより、一日のどの段階で電力消費が高まり、どのタイミングで電気スイッチを切るべきか等が非常に分かりやすくなる。

復興というプロセスの中で発生する様々な問題に対しての解決策となる実用的な広告、いわゆる「ブランディド・ユーティリティー」の良い例である。

Lonely Planet lends a hand to stranded travelers

lonely-planetWith the massive travel disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, Lonely Planet turned chaos into an opportunity to get on the radar of the numerous travelers stranded in unfamiliar cities. It is offering 13 of its iPhone guides for free for a period of a few days, focusing on the most affected cities; the apps normally sell for $15.99 apiece. The simple initiative will score goodwill points with anxious travelers, helping to drive consumer engagement while making more people aware of the brand’s iPhone guides.

Photo Credit: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/campaigns/iphone/