K.C. Utility Enlists Local Agency

Kansas City Power & Light’s $2 million advertising account has returned home.

Kuhn & Wittenborn of Kansas City, Mo., bested Bernstein-Rein Advertising in the finals of a review that was limited to local shops. The utility had been without an agency since parting with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, in February 2001. KB&P won the account in June 1997, rankling in-state shops.

“Agencies hate to see work leave the city,” said Whitey Kuhn, K&W’s CEO and president. “We’re delighted to have them come back.”

K&W will work to improve the firm’s public awareness at all times.

“Most people don’t think about their utility until they have problems,” Kuhn said. “We want to work on a program to enhance their image year-round.”

KB&P’s work featured characters playing jazz, barbecuing and playing football. It is unclear if the tagline, “How Kansas City are you?” will remain.

K&W may be called on to provide brand strategy for the utility’s transformation into a holding company, Great Plains Energy, said KCP&L representative Tom Robinson.

“We’ve recently realigned into a holding company,” Robinson said. “Brand identity is going to be an important component for us.”

While ad expenditures were less than $1 million last year, the client spent $2 million annually in both 1999 and 2000, per CMR.