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Cranford Prepares Defense

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Incumbent Will Face S.E. Rivals for Carolina Utility
ATLANTA--An undisclosed number of agencies around the Southeast have been contacted about pitching the account of Carolina Power & Light, based in Raleigh, N.C.
Most of the estimated $4 million account is currently on the roster of Little Rock, Ark.-based Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods. The shop services the business from its Raleigh office.
Barb Perkins, vice president at CJRW's North Carolina office, said the relationship with the client grew out of internal projects with the utility that involved media planning and buying assignments, plus strategic planning. Media work for CP&L covers television, radio and print.
CJRW has also handled various duties for CP&L's retail services division, emergency notification programs and database work. The client has a number of other agencies handling various projects, including branding.
In early 1997, the public utility severed its 25-year relationship with McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, simply saying, "It was time for a change."
The request for proposal, sent out by The Bedford Group in Atlanta, asks shops for, among other facts, relevant experience with industries undergoing deregulation or clients in complex market circumstances.
Consultancy chief executive Jane Bedford confirmed she was handling the search for CP&L, but referred further questions about the review to the client. Utility officials did not return calls at press time.
Sources said invited agencies have until this week to return the questionnaire. CJRW will be part of the review, agency officials confirmed.
Even though the Raleigh office was opened in January 1998 primarily to service CP&L, Perkins said the agency has diversified its client base enough to sustain the possible loss of the business. Other CJRW clients in Raleigh include the local United Arts Council, Cafe Carolina, Sheraton and Heater Utilities.