Enbridge Unveils Multi-Million Dollar Ad Campaign to Sway Public Opinion in BC


Read this story from Mark Hume in the Globe and Mail on Enbridge’s new multi-million dollar ad campaign in an attempt to win the “social license” it recognizes it needs to push its  controversial Northern Gateway pipelines through BC. (May 30, 2012)

The battle for the hearts and minds of British Columbians over a proposed oil pipeline has ramped up after Enbridge Inc. launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign – and Greenpeace Canada responded by unfurling a giant, eye-catching banner on Lions Gate Bridge.

The tactics revealed on Tuesday by the opposing sides in the debate are dramatically different.

Enbridge is going with a finely crafted print and television campaign created by Kbs+p Canada, with media relations directed by Hill and Knowlton, a leading communications company that claims to have “invented the concept of public relations.”

On the other hand, Greenpeace and others opposed to the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal to link Alberta’s oil sands to a West Coast tanker port are going with low-budget drama, petitions and social networking.

At the same moment Paul Stanway, an Enbridge spokesman, was unveiling the advertising package in an office tower on the edge of Stanley Park, environmental activists were rappelling down the girders of the bridge on the other side of the park, just a few city blocks away.

The banner flapped in the wind briefly before the Greenpeace climbers, who had been unable to secure the lower edge, pulled it in.

Mr. Stanway said with a smile that he hadn’t had a chance to see the “no tar sands pipelines” banner, but it was clear his company is hoping the ads will have a more lasting impact.

“We need social licence to build this pipeline,” he said in explaining the need for the advertising campaign. “We need public support …This is something we’re more and more focusing on.”

The advertising campaign promises job creation, environmental protection and economic stimulus, linking it all together with a catchy tag line: “It’s more than a pipeline. It’s a path to our future.”

Mr. Stanway said Enbridge is spending “less than $5-million” on the ads, which will run in newspapers and on television over the summer starting on Wednesday, and which may later expand to radio.

Read more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/enbridge-ad-campaign-intensifies-pipeline-battle/article2447105/






About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.