Central Maine Power

In January of 1998, a crippling string of ice storms brought the Northeast to a standstill. Not only did this icy enamel cause widespread devastation to the Maine's electric power infrastructure, but it also made restoring electrical service a struggle of mythic proportions. In all, more than tens of thousands households went without power for as long as two weeks and all of this amid the typical frigidness of a Maine winter.

Woodbury & Morse became involved even as the ice storm was hitting. On the night the storm hit we we're meeting with senior members of Central Maine Power's marketing team. By morning, we knew CMP was in for a long, hard battle.

The company's first priority was to remind people of the danger of downed power lines. Second, we needed to reassure customers that CMP was doing every in its power to get their electricity back on. The storm struck on a Wednesday night. On Thursday we wrote and designed the first ad in this series, obtained the most dramatic photo possible and made the newspaper's deadline.

Worth pointing that at this point, power had not even been restored to CMP's corporate headquarters in Augusta, Maine. Because we still had power in Portland, CMP's marketing, public relations, and community relations personnel brought their cell phones, battery chargers, and laptops to our office and set up a temporary headquarters here.

We followed with a second newspaper ad, and worked with CMP's CEO David Flanagan in creating eight different radio spots that reinforced our key messages of safety first, assurance that progress was being made, and that all of Maine needed to pull together as neighbors to see this hardship through. We also scripted television commercials which were shot on location where the storm damage was at its worst.

And as the lights came back on in the last few homes, we created a thank-you ad statewide to congratulate CMP workers for their tireless efforts and CMP customers for their resiliency and fortitude. When it was all said and done, CMP's approval rating jumped 10 points into the low 90s, the Maine Sunday Telegram ran a feature length story on how well CMP had performed during the crisis, and Maine Governor Angus King threw a party at the Augusta Civic Center to honor David Flanagan and all of CMP's employees.

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