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Branding alternative fuels? Raise Hell.

By Lorne Craig on June 26, 2009

Reading through Hot, Flat and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, I came across an interesting description of clean fuels vs. dirty fuels, by Rachel Lefkowitz, from Pro-Media. In a flash of brilliant simplicity she describes them as ‘Fuels from Heaven or Fuels from Hell.”


The Fuels from Heaven include wind, tidal, biomass and solar power. These all come from above ground, are renewable and produce no harmful emissions. (Presumably the CO2 from burning biomass is just releasing carbon that was already captured from the atmosphere – part of the cycle).

As opposed to the Fuels from Hell – coal, oil and natural gas. All are sourced from the bowels of the earth, all are exhaustible and all add to the overall CO2 content of our atmosphere.
Now there’s a branding angle worth exploring. Eternal bliss vs. damnation. Do you want your electricity to come from the realm of the Heavenly Father or The Dungeons of Satan? I can hear the radio ad now:

SFX: Dripping cave combined with factory noises and sounds of human torment. A phone rings.

Annoying Switchboard Operator: “Hell Fuels, how may I direct your call? Oil spills? Certainly. One moment. (click)
Good morning, Hell Fuels. Strip Mining Department? Would you like Coal or Tar Sands? One moment. (click)

Hell Fuels, how may I direct your call? Missing Species Department? I’m sorry, their line is still busy. Please Hold. (click)

Good morning, Hell Fuels. The Global Political Instability Department? One moment please. (click)

Hell Fuels, how may I direct your call? Global Warming Department? I’m sorry, that doesn’t exist. Yes, I know the liberal media is full of lots of cute stories, but I can assure you… You want to talk to my supervisor? The President of Hell Fuels? The Lord of Darkness? Why sir, who did you think you were speaking with? (voice changes to deep bellowing evil laugh, then back to annoying switchboard operator) Buh bye now. Good morning, Hell Fuels….”

Announcer: “There’s got to be a better way. Fuels from Heaven – wind, tidal, solar.”

SFX: Angelic music

Announcer: Let’s put our energy investment above the ground.

Okay, so it’s a 67-second radio spot with no client. But it’s a powerful metaphor that not only clearly points out the differences in fuel technology, it also has implications for our individual behaviour.
Every time you make an energy choice, who’s side are you on?

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