The Sun’s Gonna Shine In My Backdoor Someday

The New York Times looks today at Sharp Electronics Corporation, one of the biggest makers of rooftop solar panels. The article addresses Sharp’s California-specific marketing initiatives.
In a bit of a twist for the solar industry, RiechesBaird, the ad agency Sharp hired in July, tabled their original plan to push the virtues of Sharp systems among installers, builders and distributors. Instead, they embarked on a six-month campaign to teach homeowners in California — the state with the most generous government incentives for solar energy — how it works.
“For Sharp, it’s a business-to-business sale, but the market is still consumer-driven,” said John J. Capano, vice president for planning and strategy at RiechesBaird.
But not everyone agrees that the California energy consumer needs more education in this area.

“California is ground zero for awareness of global-warming issues, and selling the concept of solar power there is like selling beverages in the desert,” said Allen P. Adamson, managing director of the brand consulting firm Landor Associates. “So if Sharp’s product is ready for prime time, it would feel more sophisticated if they just went ahead and told their story.”

Although, I don’t live in Cali, I would consider an investment in solar panels for my home. So I hear Adamson’s critique. Where are the specs? How much will I have to spend now in order to save later? How will my decision impact carbon emissions? Etc.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.