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2-in-1 Atlanta Review

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The Southern Company and its Georgia Power unit have merged advertising and marketing functions into one entity and will launch a review for the combined $12 million account.

The client will issue invitations to Atlanta-area agencies which are considered realistic candidates, said Lee Birdsong, advertising and marketing communications manager for The Southern Company and Georgia Power.

"We've merged the accounts because we are so close," Birdsong said of both entities, which are housed under one roof in Atlanta. "The new agency will represent the entire group, but, because the companies are separate, we will need faces for each."

Birdsong hopes to speed the agency selection process by not requesting spec creative. She added, however, that "creative is key. We want to look at work that is strategically focused with demonstrated results."

Requests for credentials and agency visits will follow hard on the heels of next week's invitations. A decision should come in late March.

Georgia Power effectively ended its relationship with Pollak Levitt & Partners when that shop closed in November. Trone Atlanta, which took over PL&P, will not compete.

"I don't think their size will meet the criteria," said Birdsong.

Southern Co. incumbent Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky of New York will not mount a defense.

The utility's parent is in the process of spinning off units into a venture currently branded Southern Energy, which will begin operating separately on April 2.