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Georgia Gas Begins TV Defense

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Asks Public to Remain 'True Blue' via BBDO South's 'Gas Guy'
ATLANTA--With an advertising war chest of $20 million through 2000, Georgia Natural Gas Services is preparing to defend its turf in a soon-to-be deregulated environment.
The first shot will be fired Oct. 15 when the company, through its Atlanta-based agency BBDO South, breaks a television campaign introducing "Gas Guy," the client's new and frequently overzealous spokesperson.
Georgia Natural Gas Services (GNGS) is the marketing arm of Atlanta Gas Light and the new name consumers will have to know if they intend to retain that company as their energy provider. Later this month or in early November, the public will have to choose a vendor as Georgia becomes the first state to deregulate its natural gas industry.
Gas Guy, described as a normal fellow who "wears a blue flame costume and is sincerely passionate about natural gas," gives the client a vehicle to deliver its message without being preachy.
The first two TV spots, which will run into December, are simply meant to introduce the new icon.
In "Pitch," the character talks his way past the receptionist at the GNGS offices and crashes a marketing meeting, telling the executives they need "something you just look at and think . . . gas."
In "Stove Guy," he again slips into a meeting where the marketers are debating whether to use Gas Guy or another character called Stove Guy, who happened to test well with focus groups. In his fervor to win, Gas Guy follows a woman into a rest room, pleading his case.
The ads will begin airing throughout the state in spot buys on local evening newscasts, Atlanta Braves playoff games and prime time programming such as Ally McBeal, Frasier and Veronica's Closet.
Gas Guy also appears in print ads (which broke Oct. 11) that use the tagline, "Now that's true blue." There is also a Web site, www.gasguy.com.
Production credits at BBDO include executive creative director Art Mellor, vice president and creative director Kyle Lewis and senior copywriter Sally Williams.