3 Finalists for Rural Power Co-op

Three Little Rock, Ark., agencies have advanced to the finals in the review for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.’s $1 million account, the client said.

Incumbent Heathcott Associates is defending against Forza Marketing Group and Mangan Holcomb Rainwater Culpepper, according to client representative Rob Roedel.

The three shops advanced from an initial group of nine candidates. Each finalist will make a creative presentation on Oct. 23 at theco-op’s headquarters in Little Rock. A decision is due by Nov. 1.

Roedel said the review does not reflect a “negative feeling” toward Heathcott, but is part of a periodic review of vendors. The client last reviewed its account in 1997.

The cooperatives, which are not-for-profit organizations, primarily serve 400,000 residential customers in the state’s rural areas. Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., a power generation and transmission entity, is one of 17 in the group.

Although the client is satisfied with the current “We’re there for you” tagline, Roedel said the organization is “open to new ideas.” Any future positioning, however, must encompass three concepts: local ownership and operation, safe power and a strong heritage of serving consumers who would not have electricity otherwise.

The co-op, which last ran a television campaign in 1999, mostly relies on outdoor, radio and sponsorships to promote energy conservation and electricity as a reliable power source.