You Say You Want an Evolution? Bioheat Campaign Aims to Start One

By Paul J. Nazzaro | November 21, 2011

I’ve pounded the pavement for years now, reaching out to oilheat dealers trying to help them see how biodiesel can help the long-term viability of their industry. Their market share is contracting each year by hundreds of millions of gallons, and Bioheat, a mixture of heating oil and biodiesel, may be the only thing that can save them. 

Some oilheat dealers share the vision and have been early adopters of Bioheat. In fact, to date, 235 have become registered Bioheat dealers through our partner, the National Oilheat Research Alliance. 
But we need more distributors to take the oilheat industry to 100 percent Bioheat. That’s why, for the first time, we’ve enacted a consumer-driven advertising campaign, aggressively piquing the end-users’ curiosity and educating them about Bioheat.

The National Biodiesel Board’s new Bioheat advertising campaign underway in New York City aims to empower oilheat customers to choose Bioheat. Its message is simple: “Bioheat. The evolution of oilheat.” 

Our public opinion research shows us that this message is well-received by oilheat customers. It speaks to their desire to progress beyond oilheat, to something cleaner, better for the environment, and better for them.

This message has blanketed New York City buses and the subway system, with radio commercials airing on highly rated stations. It is a campaign that will be replicated on a smaller scale in six New England states. 

At $1.3 million, the effort is Bioheat’s largest advertising campaign to date. It is mostly funded by the Nebraska Soybean Board, an organization that has been nothing short of visionary in helping Bioheat find its legs. Once again, our soybean farmers are rising to the challenge on behalf of biodiesel. They see far beyond their fields in the Midwest. 

We chose New York City for this campaign because it uses 1 billion gallons of oilheat each year—more than any other city. It is also home to the most significant Bioheat legislation passed to date. The air quality legislation will ensure that starting in October 2012 all heating oil sold within New York City will contain at least 2 percent biodiesel. Greater consumer acceptance of Bioheat will help ensure a smooth implementation. 

The ads direct consumers to the Bioheat website,, which has been revamped in conjunction with the campaign. has been completely redesigned to become the modern information hub for all things Bioheat. The site serves both consumers and oilheat dealers interested in Bioheat. Facebook users can also “join the evolution” on the new Bioheat Facebook page, along with other social media efforts on Linked In and Twitter.   

Biodiesel is a positive story that resonates with consumers as a truly renewable, sustainable, American-made fuel. It will take the oilheat industry to the next phase of its existence, requiring little investment from dealers. And the NBB is highly committed to helping the oilheat industry redefine itself. 

I thank John Maniscalco, CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association, for his support in making this campaign a reality. He says calling Bioheat the “evolution of oilheat” is apropos, and more than just a campaign slogan. It’s a call to action for the entire oilheat industry. 

When talking about the evolution of oilheat, I am reminded of a term commonly associated with evolution: natural selection. Natural selection is defined as “the process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition, will tend to survive in greater numbers than others of their kind.”

As the oilheat market contracts, there will be a natural selection that happens among dealers. Time will tell who adapts and, thus, survives.

Paul Nazzaro, Petroleum Liaison, National Biodiesel Board

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