Ads during the oil crisis to encourage saving energy

The energy crisis after the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused many countries to try to reduce energy consumption through measures that directly involve the population. For this reason, the authorities are developing awareness campaigns for citizens to collaborate in this task of saving energy resources.

A very similar situation took place in the oil crisis of the 1970s. So, Arab oil-producing countries cut off exports to those who had helped Israel during the Yom Kippur War. This embargo affected world oil exports and caused fuel prices quadrupled. At that time, the national authorities used publicity campaigns in order for the population to change their energy habits to help the national economy. We tell you some of the most outstanding.

“Help the country with less energy”: saving campaigns in Spain

In 1976, TVE broadcast this advertisement that encouraged people to use the car less, showing a man who, in the middle of the road, ran out of gas. “When you see someone leave the car and go to work on foot or by busthink that you are contributing to the fact that he, you, and all of us, do not see each other one day in a similar situation, ”reflects the recording.

Four years later another campaign of the Center for Energy Studies (current Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, IDAE). Electricity, water and transport require energy that “comes almost 70% from oil”, the vast majority of which has to be imported into Spain “at a high price”, according to the video. Thus, he encouraged citizens to show solidarity and save energy.

These appeals to save also reached the written press. In the image, we can see a page of La Vanguardia Española in the edition of February 19, 1975. The National Telephone Company of Spain, today known as Telefónica, stated: “The telephone solves… energy savings”. Through the company announcement they encouraged do without unnecessary car trips and replace them with phone calls.

Source: La Vanguardia Hemeroteca (Wednesday, February 19, 1975, page 4)

Ads with familiar faces in the US and the “Turn something off” campaign in the UK

Not only in Spain did they want to motivate citizens to become aware of the energy problem, countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States also issued these public messages.

In the United Kingdom, a conflict between the government and coal miners, who used the lack of oil to defend their interests, led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the country. After this decision, it was also established 3 day work week from December 1973 to February 1974. It was then that the British government launched the campaign “Switch Off Something” (SOS) o “Turn something off” asking citizens to save electricity and, consequently, fuel.

Secondly, the US government included well-known faces of the moment to star in his ‘Public Service Announcements’ (PSA), translated into Spanish as public service announcements, related to the oil crisis. Celebrities such as actor Gregory Peck, winner of an Oscar for the film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, invited people to save gas, reduce air conditioning and “work together to save energy”.

Fictional characters were even used, such as the protagonist of comics, series and movies ‘Captain America’, who starred in a spot in 1980 in which he fought against his enemies by closing the door or turning off the lights that were not being used and asked the citizens to do the same to help you.

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