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5 Have Last Chance For Ga. Gas

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With Georgia's natural gas industry facing deregulation next year, a sister company of Atlanta Gas Light Co. is in the final stages of a search for an agency to handle its estimated $5-10 million advertising account.
AGL Investments, the marketing arm of AGL Resources, will hear presentations from five Atlanta agencies beginning next week, said Clif Payne, vice president of marketing for the Atlanta-based client.
Austin Kelley Advertising, BBDO South, Cole Henderson Drake, Fitzgerald & Co. and Fricks/Firestone were selected based on their "solid experience in branding, new product launches and in deregulated industries," Payne said.
Cole Henderson Drake is the agency of record for Atlanta Gas Light, which, as the largest subsidiary of AGL Resources, represents 95 percent of the parent firm's total resources, according to the client. CHD's relationship with Atlanta Gas Light is currently unaffected by the review.
AGL Investments was created in 1996 during the restructuring of Atlanta Gas Light Co. One of AGL's responsibilities is marketing natural gas, a result of a state deregulation law enacted this year.
According to the legislation, Atlanta Gas Light Co. becomes a distribution channel that charges natural gas marketers to deliver the product from interstate pipelines to homes and businesses. As a result, customers will be able to choose their gas suppliers when competitors are allowed into the market sometime late next year.
"Our objective is to convince [consumers] that we're the company to purchase their gas from. We're building and launching a new brand," said Payne, adding that "all media vehicles" will be used. Though he did not disclose the budget, sources estimated annual billings at $5-10 million.
Payne said finalists were asked to present a business strategy and creative concepts. A winner will be selected by the end of December.