Monday, December 18, 2006

FOI request reveals BC Hydro spent $2 million on self-promoting ad campaign

December 18, 2006

Big bucks for Hydro ad campaign

FOI request reveals BC Hydro spent $2 million on self-promoting ad campaign


As BC Hydro struggles to restore electricity to thousands of customers without power for up to a week, 24 hours has learned the Crown corporation has spent almost $2 million on a self-promoting television, radio, print and Internet advertising campaign this year.

A Freedom Of Information request filed by 24 hours shows BC Hydro is spending $1,864,481 on a campaign titled "Planning For Generations."

That includes production costs alone of $199,800 for one 30-second TV ad in several languages, $81,500 for creation of one newspaper print ad and $30,570 to produce three radio ads.

The costly campaign tells customers what a great job is being done - not just by BC Hydro but by the provincial government.

"B.C.'s economy is growing. And so is our need for energy ... That's why the province is acting to make B.C. electricity self sufficient within the next decade," part of the 66-word ad reads. "By planning now we will have enough made-in-B.C. power to meet our needs today. And for generations to come."

In addition to production costs, BC Hydro spent $726,183 buying television time to run its ad, an additional $617,060 on print advertising space, another $133,210 for radio air time and $57,000 on Internet web ads.

BC Hydro's Scott Macdonald, in a response to the FOI request, wrote that the costs are "existing estimates" with final costs not yet available.

The ad says B.C. needs more energy but doesn't mention that provincial policy is to buy electricity only from private suppliers at costs significantly higher than from publicly-owned BC Hydro hydroelectric dams. Nor does it mention new contracts with two coal-fired generating plants.

Government advertising has always been controversial in B.C.

B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell strongly opposed government advertising when in opposition. In a November 2000 interview, he said: "I can tell you this, we are going to end government feel-good advertising."

But last year Finance Minister Carole Taylor revealed the government spent $13.9 million on its B.C.: The Best Place on Earth ad campaign.

Customers can see if the ad is worth it at:

The Vancouver office of DDB Canada produced the campaign.


Total Campaign costs: $1,864,481.33
- TV ad production - $199,800 (30 second spot)

Media buy - $726,183
- Print ad production - $81,500.83

Media buy - $617,060
- Radio ad production - $30,570

Media buy - $133,210
- Web ad media buy - $57,000


Anonymous said...

Hey Bill, it's only our money they are spending telling us how great they are doing. A fellow was on the news today,on two different stations, lives in East Sooke and has had no power for THREE WEEKS.I'd be very suprised if he was of the opinion that hayrdo was doing just great

Anonymous said...

Hydro is talking about just who will be paying the costs caused by the winds and the rain. Guess who will get stuck