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IT giants join to promote energy efficiency, give back to gov't

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Small actions—such as turning off a computer or a printer at the end of the day—can have a big impact on energy savings. That's the idea behind Power IT Down Day, an effort by Citrix Systems, GTSI Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Intel Corp. to get government and industry employees to power down their computers and peripherals. Last year's Power IT Down Day, on Aug. 27, marked the third annual effort to expand awareness of simple energy-saving actions. The event also raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that provides aid and services to injured U.S. service members. Power-saving is a hot topic in government agencies, said Nigel Ballard, director of federal marketing for Intel Corp., one of Power IT Down's sponsors, pointing to U.S. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra's recent 25-point plan to reform federal information technology. The plan details goals for government agencies, focusing heavily on data center consolidation, but individuals can also do their part, he said. “Intel as a brand wants to be part of the solution,” he added, explaining the company's involvement in Power IT Down. To get the word out about the event and increase participation, the sponsors worked with Boscobel Marketing Communications, Silver Spring, Md., to promote Power IT Down Day using public relations, conference and trade show support, government outreach, radio advertising and social media. “All of our communications via these channels focused on the power of the individual, the potential for dramatic energy savings over the weekend and the promise of helping a worthy cause, the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Joyce Bosc, president-CEO of Boscobel Marketing Communications. Boscobel created a vendor-neutral logo for the event and applied it to the initiative's website, www.powerITdown.org, as well as a collection of specialty promotional items. The campaign also included trade show support at key government events, such as LandWarNet and the FedScoop 2nd Annual Lowering the Cost of Government with Technology Summit. At the events, attendees could sign up for Power IT Down via laptop kiosks. They also received promotional items including laptop “skins,” reminder cards and energy-efficient lightbulbs. The campaign also included a strong social media effort across multiple outlets. In a two-month Facebook campaign, for example, Power IT Down team members posted energy efficiency facts and tips, articles and blogs of interest. Power IT Down also used Twitter for the first time, with content focused on efficiency tips, status updates and relevant media coverage. The team also reached out to influential bloggers, garnering posts on GovLoop, Federal Computer Week, SmartContracting and ZDNet sites. The campaign succeeded in increasing the number of Power IT Down Day participants to 17,600 total registrants, Bosc said, a 315% increase over the previous year. Media coverage based on PR activities included 66 dedicated articles in outlets such as, Federal Times, Government Computer News and Washington Technology. The Power IT Down campaign presence on Facebook grew more than 1,200%. The initiative gained support from the General Services Administration's CIO Casey Coleman publicly endorsing Power IT Down Day in a keynote address. The initiative's sponsors donated a total of $60,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.
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