Environmental Group's First-Ever Paid TV Spots Take On President Bush Over Drilling In the Arctic

21-market cable and broadcast buy starts March 22

'Drilling the Arctic is a distraction…not a solution.'

NEW YORK (March 21, 2001) - In an attempt to build grass-roots opposition to President Bush's proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the country's leading environmental organizations is launching its first-ever paid television spot.

Sponsored by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the spot opens by asking the question, under a music score: "What do you call someone who would drill our Arctic Wildlife Refuge, where there's hardly any oil?" The ad answers the question by stopping the music and splashing the words "Mr. President" across the screen. The spot -- with the tag line "Drilling the Arctic is a distraction, not a solution" -- asks viewers to visit NRDC's Internet site where they can learn how they can help save the refuge.

Beginning a two-week run in 21 markets on March 22, the spot is timed to help defeat of an expected omnibus energy bill in Congress that will include a provision for opening up the Arctic Refuge to oil exploration. According to NRDC, the bulk of the undisclosed budget will be used for spot local buys on cable networks. There also will be local buys on some broadcast network Sunday morning news/chat programs.

The ad was prepared by Underground Advertising in San Francisco, a firm specializing in work for progressive and non-profit organizations.

The markets picked for the spot include New York; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Indianapolis, Los Angeles; San Francisco; Omaha; Seattle; Portland; and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale.

NRDC's Internet site explains that the U.S. Geological Survey says there is a 95 percent chance that there is only a six-month supply of oil in the Arctic Refuge -- a number far below what many Americans imagine.

"We have research showing that when people learn how little oil there really is in the Arctic Refuge, they oppose any drilling there," explained Alan Metrick, NRDC's director of communications. "The ad reinforces that, and reminds viewers that plans to drill in the arctic are keeping the country from developing a balanced energy plan for the future."

In addition to telling Internet visitors how they can save energy -- and money -- in times of high electric prices, computer users can use NRDC's online activism center to send messages to their senators, asking them to save the Arctic Refuge and develop a forward-thinking energy plan instead.