Coal down, nuclear up – punchy ads from Bruce Power

Warning – these ads from Bruce Power might offend those who make their living by selling coal, financing coal, transporting coal, burning coal, mining coal, or selling systems that attempt to make coal cleaner.

The general theme of the series is:

We’re proud to be nukes! Supplying clean, affordable, reliable nuclear power that empowers prosperity while it cleans the air and reduces coal consumption.

I am going to bet that James Greenidge will get a kick out of seeing an unabashed pronuclear ad campaign. We’re getting closer to having a home grown company that takes on the hydrocarbon industry head on; Bruce Power is at least from North America. Entergy, Exelon, Next Era, Dominion, SCANA and Southern Company – let’s see what you can do to compete with this!

About Rod Adams

21 Responses to “Coal down, nuclear up – punchy ads from Bruce Power”

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  1. Daniel says:

    Regarding Bruce Power, it had 2 reactors mothballed for 20 years !

    Now they are back on line and Bruce A and Bruce B plants together account for the biggest operating nuclear complex in the world.

  2. Andrew Jaremko says:

    Rod – thanks as always for the posts. The third ad’s claim is the most significant for me – coal plants actually are shut down by a non-carbon energy producer. Those claiming to be green need to hear this message loud, clear and strong, and be clear that it wasn’t done by wind, solar or biofuels. It’s a shame that these ads don’t get shown in Alberta and elsewhere, but at least they’re on the internet.

    Thanks to you and Bruce Power for starting my day right!

  3. Twominds says:

    The dutch company Atoomstroom, that sells only nuclear generated electricity (bought at our only NPP and in France), had a billboard advertising campaign last December, when people here change their contracts. It was the very first time I saw an open campaign like that!

    Now for Bruce to air their ads on tv too!

  4. AtomikRabbit says:

    Are these excellent promos internet only, or broadcast/cable TV as well?

    I don’t think James will be satisfied until the latter – nor will I.

  5. David Andersen says:

    Hate to be a wet blanket, but i don’t think the U.S. utilities have a sufficient commitment to nuclear to make an ad like these. Most of them have sizable capacity in coal and gas. It would seem more likely that Westinghouse, AREVA and B&W would run this type of ad.

  6. Rich L says:

    I am not sure if this is the case for all 50 states in the USA, however, in the five states I have lived in since getting involved in commercial nuclear power the state only let the public utilities advertise public service type ads. No ads advocating electric heat, no ads for gas heat, etc. All were reviewed in the “prudency hearings” where they had to justify as to how these TV spots were helpful. Must ads were about gas safety and what to do or electrical safety – usually about Christmas trees and lights etc. Therefore you will not see any ad campaign extoling the virtue of Nuclear Power by the public utilities, even if all of the plants were nuclear. Nebraska & CA (that I know of) also limits ads for the municipal owned utilities. All in an effort by big brother to protect the rate payer from monopolistic money grubbing utilities.

    Thus don’t expect them to help. You will have to get B&W, Westinghouse, GE, etc, and they make more money from other forms of energy to want to help the orphan even if it theirs.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Rich

      BS. PUCs do not tell utilities they cannot advertise; they just tell them that they cannot put the cost of ads into the rate base. Utilities are free to spend their profits on ads if they want to. My analysis indicates it would be a good investment for the stockholders, even if it reduces management bonus pools.

      • Rich L says:

        Does you analysis take into account how the PUC limits the profit?
        For many years I reported to a Vice President, who was required to sign all of my expense reports. On several occasions I was called by the accounting department and asked about my trips to one of the stations. They asked questions along the line of “it appears that some of these expenses are related to —– , or you have not indicated the percentage of the expense for that project or coded for that project. Or, I know Mr. —- had a big retirement party that night, were you involved with it? etc. “ After telling them that the VP had approved these expenses, the stock answer was. “But we still have to justify every penny to the PUC auditors! We even have to justify to them why we spend so much money trimming trees when our business is making electricity.” [The customer complains when you cut the trees, and then, the customer complains when the tree falls on the power line and they have no power. AND the PUC complains when you have ads telling them why the power company is cutting trees or not to plant trees under power lines – and sometimes does not allow them. Then the shareholder pays for cutting down trees so that the company can stay in business. I know for a fact it happened in NJ. Try explaining to the person that does your taxes (or the typical Tax CPA if you do your own) why it is prudent to cut down trees around a power line. We have had a bad winter this year so it may be easier where you live with Sandy, etc. ]
        For the 10 years I worked there, the PUC NEVER let the company earn as much as guaranteed by their rules. It is kind of hard to run a business when you think you have a “guarantied” 5% return on investment. And the regulators only let you make 3.5 – 4% ROI – especially when you could make more money investing it in bonds, and then YOU feel they should invest even more into ads that MIGHT give a 10% increase in return 15 years down the road? – That the PUC will take away in the next prudency review. Utilities can never increase their profits above what the PUC allows and all have a VERY difficult time getting a reasonable return. That is why the smart ones sold all of the big generators. The holding company makes the money and the PUC has less leverage.
        Would you have gotten any loans for starting Atomic Engines if you business plan showed that it was impossible for you to get more than a 4% ROI for the next 20 years (and after that) regardless of how much you invested, how many units you sold, or the number of people working there?

        • Rod Adams says:

          Would you have gotten any loans for starting Atomic Engines if you business plan showed that it was impossible for you to get more than a 4% ROI for the next 20 years (and after that) regardless of how much you invested, how many units you sold, or the number of people working there?

          I never got any loans for AAE. There were no guarantees for profits or losses, but there were also no protected monopoly markets.

    • Cory Stansbury says:

      Rich,
      Westinghouse ONLY does nuclear power. We do absolutely nothing else. We have zero sources of additional revenue outside of selling new plants, servicing older ones, selling fuel, and upgrading I&C…that’s it.

      We do have ads, but they don’t have high production value like these. I have heard more convincing ones are coming, as we have a new, motivated director in that department. That said, because we don’t do anything else, our budgets are generally pretty tight and almost all money goes back into R&D (not a bad thing IMHO). We do a ton of local outreach, but really don’t go too much into the national market, as that is tremendously expensive. Due to the SMR plans at Callaway I believe there is some outreach there (in Missouri), but I’m not sure of the extent.

      Note: The above is my takeaway from working at Westinghouse. It does not represent a corporate position/strategy etc.

      • Rod Adams says:

        @Cory Stansbury

        Great to hear that you have a new, motivated director in marketing. I hope he came from an industry that has recognized that advertising can be a terrific investment, especially for an industry where the technology is actually a lot better than the current public perception of it.

        I would never advise a company selling a lousy product to bother advertising. Word of mouth would win out every time. In nuclear energy’s case, a sustained ad campaign could have incredible effects on public perception, on political actions, and – perhaps most importantly – on media coverage. The media’s customers are its advertisers, not its readers and viewers. The readers and viewers are the products that the media sells to the people who are bringing the money to the table. They bend over backwards to avoid offending their customers, especially in an era where people who have ad money to spend have so many options on where to spend it.

      • Rich L says:

        Before I retired, Westinghouse was ALL of Westinghouse. Looks like after they bought CBS they went to ___.

          • Rich L says:

            Cory – Are you an Electrical Engineer or involved with the settings for Protective Relaying? I have a 1972 edition of the Westinghouse “Applied Protective Relaying” – A New “Silent Sentinels” publication, that needs a new home. Also a “Westinghouse Nuclear Training Operations,” Plant Information Manual, – 3400 Mw PLANT – ” dated 1975. Both in almost as new condition – might be good for the Westinghouse library.
            If still around when I pass away I know my kids will put these and other of “dads junk” in the dumpster. I would feel better giving them to someone that knows what it is than selling it on eBay and getting who knows what.
            I can contact you through Facebook if you are on there and if you want these – Just pay for USPS Media shipping.

          • Cory Stansbury says:

            Rich,
            I am not an electrical engineer (ME and *almost* NucE). However, I am a bit of a Westinghouse historian/collector, so I would love something like that. Hit me up on facebook and we’ll work something out. I’d be more than happy to pay for shipping/handling.

            Thanks,
            Cory

  7. James Greenidge says:

    Greetings!
    Eh, eh!! That’s cool! My making the byline of a feature! Thanks for the Oscar, Rod! But now the wet blanket envelope; the less pollution claim simply isn’t enough. If that health/environmental argument was that powerful and persuasive almost every politician would be tripping over themselves hawking nuclear. People hear the word “nuclear” and jitters go up. They want to know their little Jack and Jill living in the region won’t be irradiated and fried like Doc Kaku and Bill Nye warn from inevitable sure-as-the-sun-rises nuclear accidents, not whether they breathe in mundane extra CO2. Health nuts here in New York have a governor hell bent on switching to long known pollution generators by shutting down Indian Point and the clueless majority and media are backing Cuomo all the way, their kid’s and green skies health be damned. Claiming you’re just cleaner is NOT an educational PSA. It feels like a used car salesman line. If you really want to turn people’s nuclear perspectives around in PSAs you take the bull by the horns and aim them at the 800 pound safety-health gorilla in the room and say in your ads; “The smallest, cleanest and >SAFEST< energy ever made." Period. Just like that. No MIT seminar. Just that one simple caption hammered over and over again. TV viewers will smirk and say "hey, they can't lie like that!!" (like that podcast guy who question's Rod's nuke safety mention; "can you REALLY say that??" MEGA LOL's from that!!) Good! Make people Google and find a way to refute that on their own. Let anti-nukes try to publicly knock it and at the same time state your case. Challenge makes positive controversy, especially since nuclear energy has a WAY UNDERUSED sterling irrefutable normal operations/accident mortality score to fall back on. Turn Fukushima into lemonade by retorting mentions of that incident of just how many died on gas and oil rigs and facilities or in their immediate neighborhoods lately too. Blunt the FUD. Bust the anti's nightmare rattling. I wasn't being flippant about getting the Tylenol ad agency to work on nuclear's image. No candy-coated reassurances; show how you're addressing the problem and nuclear's admirable health/safety record. Take the damn kid gloves off and USE IT to whack the antis and their media sycophants back for once. Nuclear energy CAN be popular but it'll take Will to do it. Yes, I know there's no real nuclear "industry", but there ARE 104 separate nuclear plants with souls of their own to take the initiative and do their own self-promotion apart their parent companies, and there are also atomic workers unions and nuclear professional organizations with pockets deeper than Puppy Rescue's daily NYC cable PSA barrage to do hard-biting educational nuclear PSAs to counter Arnie and Greenpeace and Kaku IF they they have the WILL and GUTS to for _their own interest's sake_.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  8. AtomikRabbit says:

    An example of pro-nuclear outreach in India – it looks like the house was packed!

    http://www.npcil.nic.in/pdf/news_27feb2013_01.pdf