Dominion Goes Back to Its Roots

Dominion Energy is returning to its first agency. The Richmond, Va.-based utility awarded its ad account to The Martin Agency, which helped launch the brand in the mid-1960s, without a review.

“Back in those days we were both Virginia companies, now we’re national,” said Martin president and creative director Mike Hughes. “What doesn’t change are the things like humanity and the integrity of the company.”

Incumbent Arnold handled the account for the last 10 years, through its Richmond and McLean, Va., offices. Its most recent tagline for the client: “This day was brought to you by Dominion.”

“We had many successful campaigns and projects with [Arnold], but the time had come for Dominion to move on,” said client spokesperson Lora Spiller. “Richmond is flush with talent, but Martin really seemed to have what we’re looking for—a wonderful bigness, butpersonal and committed in their relationships.”

The utility’s brand message, “Dominion. It all starts here,” was created by Seigelgale in New York and will remain in use, according to the client.

Billings were not disclosed. Dominion spent less than $1 million in 2001, per CMR. In 2000, it spent $3.5 million.

Havas-owned Arnold concentrated on re-branding the energy supplier. The agency also developed projects to educate consumers about escalating gas prices.

Two years ago, Dominion acquired Consolidated Natural Gas of Pittsburgh.

“We had to let them know that the price rise wasn’t due to the acquisition, but a phenomenon that spread across the country when supplies ran low,” said Spiller.

Plans for this year include print and radio advertising to further establish the brand within its communities as well as prepare consumers for deregulation.

“People are looking long and hard at deregulation,” said Spiller. “Some of the issues in California did not put the best light on it.”

In addition to creative and media, Richmond’s Martin will be responsible for conceiving Dominion’s 2003 and 2004 marketing strategies.

“Consumers are looking at not just how the business is doing, but on how they are doing on the human standards,” said Hughes. “This is important for companies that are so vital to the community.”

The electric and gas provider serves residential consumers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.