Facing a new competitive era for utilities, Peoples Energy tapped Grant/Jacoby here to create an integrated branding campaign.
The agency was selected for the $2.5 million account after a review that included Chicago agencies McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown and Burrell Communications, according to Desiree Rogers, the utility's vice president of corporate communications.
Foote, Cone & Belding here previously handled the account, but Rogers said the utility was looking for a smaller agency, with billings in the $60-100 million range.
Grant/Jacoby, with billings of $77 million last year, brings branding experience with clients such as Culligan International. Peoples Energy's familiarity with Grant/Jacoby executive creative director Bernie Pitzel, previously at FCB, also was a factor in the selection, Rogers said.
Grant/Jacoby's assignment will include developing print and broadcast advertising supporting the company's new brand image.
The client's advertising budget of $2.5 million is significantly higher than previous spending levels. The company spent less than $1 million last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. But, like other utilities facing deregulation, Peoples needs to increase its marketing costs to meet competition, Rogers said.
"As the energy market deregulates, there's an opportunity to expand the [customers'] history with the name as we expand our unregulated business," Rogers said. "If you're following the whole energy market, this is not atypical."