Consol Energy renews 3-year-old branding campaign with energy origin emphasis

Posted December 6, 2010

By Michael Bradwell

As casting calls go, the one that drew 120 people Tuesday and Wednesday to Julian's Banquet Hall in Washington to pose for a series of billboard ads for a new Consol Energy advertising campaign gave all participants an equal advantage.

Everyone who showed up was a Consol Energy employee.

The shoot, organized by Pittsburgh-based ad agency Brunner, was taking groups of 30 employees from all of Consol's coal and natural gas operations and photographing them for an extension of a branding campaign the agency developed three years ago.

While Consol has called itself "America's On Switch" by touting its status as one of America's biggest suppliers of coal for the energy market, the 2011 branding campaign focuses on the message "America's Energy Starts Here." The new message reminds consumers that Consol's coal as well as its natural gas help to provide 70 percent of the nation's electricity.

The groups who are photographed will be used to create a photographic mosaic of images synonymous with American pride: Boards will show the groups creating the Statue of Liberty, a map of the United States and an eagle's head.

Consol spokeswoman Lynn Manning said the new branding campaign is intended to demonstrate "that we're no longer just a coal company and no longer just a gas company."

She noted that Consol's CNX Gas division's continued work in the Marcellus Shale strata, and Consol's purchase this year of Dominion Resources' Appalachian exploration and production business further increased its gas business.

One of those participating in Tuesday's shoot was Dave Lacosta, a South Strabane Township resident and 37-year Consol employee who works in CNX's supply chain area, helping to set up warehouses to supply the company's gas operations.

Like Manning, Lacosta said the new campaign is making people see how much of Consol's output of coal and gas contributes to the country's energy.

"The end result is going to be more awareness" of what the company does, he said.

Shawn Smith, senior creative director for Brunner, said the agency recently completed shooting 30-second television ads in Los Angeles that used a dozen of the company's employees. The first ad will appear in a college football bowl game Jan 1.

According to Smith, the commercials and billboards will be used on a "super-regional" basis, airing in areas where Consol has a presence.

He said the television ads will expand upon the domestic energy theme of the branding campaign, showing how the company's coal and natural gas create the energy for communities, entertainment and commerce.

One of the messages, he said, states that "Our coal isn't just made in America, it makes America."

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.