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The birth, upbringing and graphic edification of PSE's Safesquatch

One of my favorite fellows to ever pop up on social media is Safesquatch. Familiar with Sasquatch but unfamiliar with Safesquatch? Well, you are missing out. Safesquatch helps Puget Sound Energy customers learn awesome lessons on how to be super safe around unsafe stuffs like natural gas. 

I admit to having a soft spot for Safesquatch. We’ve talked about him before when working on social media pieces. (Want to read those. Hit here. And here.)

So, Safesquatch is on my short list for favorite utility mascots with EDF’s Zingy (who appears to be some odd version of a tasty Peep) and CoServ’s Mr. Diggs (who appears to be a stuffed armadillo).

Not one to run from my obsessions, I instead reached out to Puget Sound Energy (PSE), and they kindly let me have a little virtual chat with one of the fathers of Safesquatch, PSE Graphic and Print Designer Joff Brown.

We asked. He answered. Here are the details.


 
We asked: Where did the idea for Safesquatch come from?
Joff answered: One of our most important customer touchpoints is our natural gas safety brochure. Affectionately dubbed the scratch’n’sniff, the brochure has a scratchable area that releases that distinct, pungent rotten egg smell (mercaptan). To make the educational brochure stand out, a team of creatives from PSE’s Communications department came up with Safesquatch, an incredibly hairy, safety ambassador.

We wanted to portray him as a PSE customer with a home and yard. That way we could depict safe behaviors and reactions when faced with power lines, a natural gas leak, digging in the yard, etc. 

We intended to use him to illustrate safe behavior in dangerous situations but, at least initially, the idea never went further than concept and the brochure went in a different direction. 

We asked: So, if the idea when in a different direction, how did you get him back? 
Joff answered: ‘Squatch may not have originally made it into print but he was later resurrected for social media. Dozens of initial sketches and comps of the character were originally produced and we saw an opportunity to make use of them, sharing important safety messages in a fun and memorable way on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the earliest illustrations were also animated (pse.com/safesquatch) and, more recently, the character made an appearance in our recent television ad campaign. Eagle-eyed customers will spot him on coins and dollar bills, as well as an icon next to the myPSE app on one of the character’s phones.


 
We asked: What are your favorite Safesquatch campaigns so far?
Joff answered: I was incredibly pleased and proud when Safesquatch made in onto last September’s monthly customer newsletter. ‘The Voice of myPSE’ reaches all of our electric and natural gas customers and was the fastest, most effective way to introduce the character to customers who hadn’t seen him on social media. 

Rifling through his preparedness kit, Safesquatch illustrated the necessity of being prepared with both a disaster plan and kit. I personally keep a kit at home and work, including a change of clothing. You never know when disaster will strike and being prepared is a no-brainer. 

We asked: How do your customers respond to Safesquatch? What's been the feedback?
Joff answered: Favorably! He’s quirky, charming and accomplishes what we intended—making safety messaging more memorable. 

We asked: How do you see Safesquatch evolving from here? 
Joff answered: He definitely has a bright future. He’ll continue to make appearances on social media and will be front and center in an upcoming safety campaign. I also hope he finds his way into more print pieces.

Kathleen Wolf Davis's picture

Thank Kathleen for the Post!

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