Agencies pitch for energy free-for-all

Agencies are lining up for a multi-million pound bonanza from this autumn’s deregulation of the electricity industry as two of Britain’s most aggressive utilities companies trawl London for an advertising partner.

Agencies are lining up for a multi-million pound bonanza from this

autumn’s deregulation of the electricity industry as two of Britain’s

most aggressive utilities companies trawl London for an advertising

partner.



ScottishPower, which already delivers a utility service to one in five

homes in Britain, has shortlisted Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Partners

BDDH, as well as its Edinburgh-based incumbent, the Leith Agency. All

three agencies have been briefed to come up with creative and strategy

for a corporate advertising campaign worth up to pounds 7 million.



Similarly, Eastern Electricity - which, like ScottishPower, was named in

a recent Coopers & Lybrand report as being most likely to survive

deregulation in the long term - has briefed the Incorporated Society of

British Advertisers to find an agency for a communications onslaught

later in the year.



Both companies are said to want campaigns in place by September, when

they will be free to offer electricity and other services to consumers

outside their home areas.



By far the most aggressive is likely to be the Glasgow-based

ScottishPower, which aims to be a major supplier of utilities throughout

the UK. It already delivers to five million homes in Britain, either

through domination of the electricity market in southern Scotland, or

through ownership of the North-west-based utility, Manweb. ScottishPower

also sells water and gas through its Southern Water subsidiary and is a

leading competitor to BT through its ScottishTelecom arm.



David Clark, ScottishPower’s general marketing manager, energy supply,

is spearheading the search for an agency. A decision on the corporate

campaign is expected in July, although it is unclear whether the

day-to-day advertising, currently with the Leith, will follow suit.



Eastern Electricity is owned by the Energy Group, which was bought by

the US-based Texas Utilities last month. It is thought that the new

owner is preparing to invest heavily in the company’s future as a major

utility supplier in the UK.



A spokesman denied the review, saying the company was happy with its

incum-bent, Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray.



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