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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LPG Public Relations Campaign

Auto-LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is a cheaper and cleaner alternative fuel to automotive vehicles. It is gaining worldwide popularity and more than 12 million automotive vehicles in the world use AUTO-LPG as their primary fuel. In the Philippines, its popularity began in the latter part of 2005. 
In order for vehicles to run on Auto-LPG, the engines need to be converted by installing an LPG conversion kit. Long-term benefit includes 40% savings on fuel when using auto gas versus gasoline.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) recently released an article about the dangers of LPG-run taxis to the passengers’ health. The article portrays the sentiments of an ex-producer Natalie Palanca claiming that her health condition worsened after riding these taxis. Palanca was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2006 and claims that it made her condition "more abrupt" by experiencing weight loss, asthma attacks and dizziness.
A few taxi drivers interviewed by Ms. Palanca also claimed that they left LPG-run taxis for the same health reasons. The article also published anecdotal stories and testimonials of LPG-taxi drivers who claim that they had health problems attributed to the use of auto-LPG. After the publication of the article, the issue has been a topic on different media discussions and government inquiry. Even without any scientific basis, the negative issue regarding the health problems caused by auto-LPG resulted to public apprehension on LPG-run taxis.

LPGIA (Liquefied Petroleum Gas Industry Associations Inc.)
- Consist of LPG players in the Philippines (distributors, auto converters, cylinder producers, etc.) 
AFCAP (Alternative Fuel Converters Association of the Philippines)
-Consist of legitimate auto-LPG converters in the Philippines. This is a group under the LPGIA.
What can LPGIA and AFCAP initiate in order to change the perspective of the general public about the dangers of Auto-LPG and help increase the total number of converted LPG-run taxis?

1.    Taxi Drivers and Operators- They consists the big chunk of end consumers of AUTO-LPG. Thus, the continuous development and progression of the AUTO-LPG industry relies on their patronage. Most of them are easily influenced by testimonials from their peers and media. They do not discern facts but rather rely on hearsays and media commentators.  
2.    Commuters/Riding Public- They are also affected by the recent negative health issues attributed to Auto-LPG. Some commuters have been very keen in riding LPG-fueled taxis and tries to avoid embarking in one.
3.    ACTO (Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization)- After the buzz on the negative health issues attributed to Auto-LPG, this organization of PUV drivers and operators released their stand against the use of Auto-LPG. This organization can influence the opinions of its members.
Government Organizations (LTFRB, DOE, Department of Transportation, DOH, Legislators)- They have the authority to imposed laws that could hamper, restrict or even stop the utilization of AUTO-LPG.
Media- As agenda-setters and opinion leaders, it is necessary to recognize the grave influence of media on the perception of our primary target audience.

         Manage and counter the negative health issues on the utilization of Auto-LPG that threaten to hinder the growth of the industry.
         To gain support and acceptance from target publics on the use of Auto-LPG. The communication plan must empower the target audience with correct and factual information about Auto-LPG that would eventually convince them that it is a safe, better and effective alternative to fuels.
         To prevent negative issues about Auto-LPG to become sensational and to gain national interest. The campaign should divert the negative issues by highlighting the benefits of LPG.

   To increase the total LPG-run taxis from 12,000 to 16,000 by December 31, 2012[1]

 Main slogan: L.P.G. for Ligtas Praktikal at Garantisado
·         The message strategy will counter all postulating negative issues against Auto-LPG. The Filipino acronym for LPG is an effective way of altering the perception of the target audience using a language they could easily comprehend. All PR efforts will be inclined to this message strategy by providing scientific-base information explained in layman’s term.
·         Aside from gaining the support of the transport industry, the campaign will establish trust on AFCAP and LPGIA by positioning them as reliable industry partners that respond to economic and environment problems by providing the community with a safe, practical and beneficial alternative. 
·         Since part of the primary target audience is the public, diverse media tools will be utilized like infomercials, news releases, print advocacy materials and events.
·         Involve the government organizations to strictly implement safety standards for the use of AUTO-LPG to send message to the public that LPG is truly safe. This will also help eliminate fly-by-night conversions.


·         The client will get an endorser to support the campaign as part of his advocacy. The endorser is going to be Kuya Kim Atienza who has a reputation to be a man of science. His image will help the client prove that LPG is safe.
·         Press Conference – to officially launch the campaign, a press conference will be held in the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City inviting the media and taxi operators. The conference will be from 10am to 11:30am and the endorser (Kuya Kim) will officially introduced the entire program.
·         LPG INFORMATION DRIVE- Includes infomercials aired on AM and FM radio (Radio Talakayan), printed advocacy materials and press releases. Please see appendix for sample materials.
·         LPG SEAL – Members of the AFCAP will issue an LPG seal sticker to taxis as a proof that the vehicle underwent conversion from legitimate AUTO-LPG converters. This seal will ensure commuters safety of taxis from any gas leaks and other malfunctions.
·         IWAS-TAGAS HOTLINE- AFCAP will provide a 24/7 hotline that gives drivers preliminary precautionary steps once LPG leak is suspected. The hotline also inform drivers the nearest legitimate AUTO-LPG shops that can fix the leak.
·         TSUPER KAPIHAN- An open forum about AUTO-LPG that will be held on taxi operators’ venue. Experts like mechanical engineers and doctors will be the speakers of the forum. This will be done by geographic location in order to fully educate the operators and drivers about the benefits of LPG.
·         TRANSPORT AND ALTERNATIVE FUEL INDUSTRY COOPERATIVE (TAFIC) – Aside from disproving the negative health impact of LPG to the taxi operators and taxi drivers, the client will help build a cooperative among taxi operators in order to help them financially in converting their taxis from gasoline to LPG. A payment scheme will be introduced in order for the members to afford the conversion. This will also help the client ensure the quality of the conversion kit as well as the installation.

[1] From 2005 to 2011, a total of 12,000 taxis were converted averaging 2000 taxis per year.