Nova Scotia Power is hoping the internet fame of Cape Bretoner Frankie MacDonald will electrify a series of company-sponsored videos about storm preparedness.
The utility has released a series of videos called The Storm Wars Trilogy about three characters — Joel, Gail and David — as they get ready to ride out a big winter storm in rural Nova Scotia.
Spokeswoman Beverley Ware says MacDonald's 'Be prepared' motto matches the utility's message well.
"He's also a very popular person in Nova Scotia, a very well recognized face. So it was just a natural fit for us to partner with him," Ware said.
Last year's post-tropical storm Arthur spurred the company into action to make the videos.
"It was identified that we needed to find new ways of reaching out to our customers," she said. "But we wanted to do it in an engaging way and we also wanted to inform our customers about what we're doing here behind the scenes at Nova Scotia Power."
Real employees acting
MacDonald makes his cameo at the beginning of the first episode. Joel, the unprepared one, is seen watching a Frankie forecast warning Nova Scotians to be prepared for an impending snowstorm.
Gail and David, Joel's older neighbours, are "your typical Nova Scotians," as the video's synopsis says. They guide Joel and the viewer through the steps Nova Scotia Power takes to tackle outages.
The second episode goes behind-the-scenes of the utility's emergency operations centre in Ragged Lake. It features real employees performing their actual roles in a scripted outage scenario.
"They were pretty darn good!" Wares said of their acting. "It's rare for customers to get a glimpse into emergency operations centre. From that point of view, it's kind of exciting. It kind of looks like the deck of Star Trek Enterprise or something like that."
Ware says those scenes may help churn up a little empathy into the utility's efforts during inclement weather.
"I hope so," she said. "I hope it's helpful for people to understand the process and sort of get the bigger picture."
MacDonald was given an honorarium for his participation, which he split with Autism Nova Scotia.