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The Drive $marter Challenge Video Contest

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I wanted to bring to your attention the nifty contest that the Alliance to Save Energy has going on. With me today is Rozanne Weissman, their Senior Director of Consumer Campaigns, to tell you all about it. Welcome to OpEdNews, Rozanne. What is the Alliance to Save Energy?

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security. We emphasize that energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest, cleanest way to increase our world's energy supplies and our nation's energy security and to decrease air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Sounds good. What is your Drive $marter Challenge campaign?

The Alliance to Save Energy launched the Drive $marter Challenge fuel efficiency consumer campaign in May 2008. The campaign is designed to help consumers reduce their gasoline costs and vehicle miles traveled and simultaneously reduce overall US national gasoline consumption. The campaign highlights easy driving and vehicle maintenance actions that add up to substantial savings ($, gallons, and CO2 emissions).

The Drive $marter Challenge campaign website is the heart of the campaign and the call to action of every campaign element. It's the only website where drivers can immediately find out on the home page how many hundreds of dollars they can save with their specific vehicle by taking six driving and vehicle maintenance actions.

Well, we can all get behind anything that helps drivers use less gas while lowering national gas consumption. Tell our readers about the Drive $marter Challenge video contest.

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The online video contest is the latest feature of the award-winning Drive Smarter Challenge fuel-efficiency campaign sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and 16 other diverse nonprofit, governmental, trade association, and for-profit partners. Prizes include a $5,000 grand prize, VIP NASCAR and Indy race packages, and a transportation package including new tires and memberships in AAA and the Silver Spoke League of American Bicyclists.

And the first 80 entrants whose videos meet the contest criteria will receive a $25 ExxonMobil Gift Card and a Car Care Council Car Care Guide.

To enter, submit a video of two minutes or less that illustrates one or more of the Drive Smarter Challenge gas- and money-saving driving and vehicle maintenance tips. Only one entry per person and you must be at least 18 to compete.

The odds of winning a video contest are very high, according to contest expert Sandra Grauschopf's step-by-step article, "How To Win Video Contests - Tips to Create Contest-Winning Videos" on

To assemble creative entries, video contest entrants can use a host of downloadable video, images, and audio elements from the Drive Smarter Challenge broadband media web site.

Where did the idea for the video contest come from?

The Alliance communications team had a brainstorming session. The question posed: What might we do to build further awareness and create something "buzz worthy" for the Drive $marter Challenge 2009 campaign with limited dollars? That's because we had one-fifth the budget of the previous year in this tough economy. A contest of some sort (audio/radio PSAs, haiku, photo, essay, podcasts , video PSAs, video) was among the top suggestions. We ultimately determined to do a video contest and began working with see3.

Have you done something similar in the past?

This marks the Alliance's third contest. While we have not previously conducted a video contest, the Alliance launched an Earth Day 2000 Energy Efficiency Online Contest when I was director of communications and marketing. We offered a host of home energy efficiency product prizes and had a remarkable 153,000 entries -- prior to blogs, twitter, social media as it is today, and other such newer outreach and promotional tools.

In 2007, the Alliance and NBC Universal's SCI FI Channel partnered on a very successful national home energy efficiency makeover contest for a deserving family, which attracted nearly 9000 entries despite requiring detailed responses and an essay. A three generational family of nine living under one roof in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, won the makeover.

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The makeover resulted in a measurable 37% increase in the home's energy efficiency and a related reduction in their monthly energy bills. There was extensive publicity. This was the sixth home energy efficiency makeover for a deserving family conducted by the Alliance as part of various home energy efficiency campaigns and the first involving a contest. The makeovers marry a wonderful human interest story with the many benefits of home energy efficiency improvements and energy-efficient products.

The deadline for this contest, September 20th, is fast approaching. So, this is a double challenge, calling for both ingenuity and speed. Let's show those folks at Alliance what OpEdNews readers are made of!


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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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