ESA campaign asks consumers to be mindful of powerlines

30-second spot takes "hard-hitting approach" to drive the message home

Danny Kucharsky May 14, 2015

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) in Ontario has launched its first ever television ad, a powerful spot that demonstrates the effect of a powerline accident on construction workers.

The 30-second spot created by Idea Studio, which uses stills from a 1:6 scale model to re-enact a construction site accident, is narration-free and features the ominous sounds of bells, a scream and approaching ambulances. It ends with the text “This message is brought to you by 44,000 volts” and #RespectThePower.

The ad is targeted to predominantly male construction workers and is running on Sportsnet until June 19. There is an online targeted buy as well and the ad may be used for training purposes in the safety community. The effort also includes social media and a dedicated website.

“We wanted to find them in a very specific environment, where we could get their attention,” says Nancy Evans, vice-president, communications and stakeholder relations at the Electrical Safety Authority.

To communicate the risk of making contact with powerlines, “we needed to have a really hard-hitting approach,” she says.

“Safety messaging has to compete with every other type of message that’s out there, so we had to figure out ‘how can ours stand out?’”

The ad launched in concert with Powerline Safety Awareness Week, which leads into the May long weekend when construction season really begins and consumers start to do more do-it-yourself activities around the house.

Evans says previous campaigns, which were comprised of online videos, social media and PR, have shown an encouraging uptick in people’s awareness of the danger of powerlines. “Part of the challenge with safety messages is keeping these issues top of mind with folks. This will help spike some of that awareness.”

In the last 10 years, 22 people have been killed in Ontario from powerline electrocutions and powerline contact is the number one cause of electrical fatalities in the province.

Argyle Communications handles public relations for the ESA.