Up there with tobacco and guns, coal is probably one of the hardest things for a marketer to sell in 2019.
But this isn’t stopping a coal research group from planning a multi-million-dollar campaign to make Australia “proud of coal”.
In a proposal to agencies obtained by ABC News, research group COAL21 outlines its plans for a $4 million to $5 million media campaign across television, social media and other online channels, print, out-of-home and radio.
The document also reveals PwC partner Russel Howcroft has been hired as a “creative consultant” by COAL21 for the project.
Independent media agency Nunn Media has been hired to deliver media buying services for the campaign.
The campaign is targeted at men aged 18 to 39 and women aged 40+, which according to the proposal are the demographics identified as ‘soft converters’ – those “open to being convinced of its (coal’s) future role”.
According to the ABC’s reports, media and creative agencies were briefed to create a “simple emotional campaign” for COAL21, with one staffer noting the goal was to “invoke national pride” abut coal.
Created in 2006, COAL21 is a $550 million investment by Australia’s coal industry into research and developing low-emissions coal technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).
“We are also conducting research to provide an evidence-based case for coal to remain a key part of Australia’s future energy supply while developing the capability to reduce emissions in the future,” says COAL21.
COAL21 came under fire in 2017 for using money that was meant to fund research into clean coal for financing advertising.
In 2013 the group elected to downplay research and allow its funds to be used for “coal promotion”, according to the ABC.