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Southern Co., Utility Set Finals

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The Southern Company and Georgia Power have confirmed four finalists in the review for their combined $10-12 million advertising account.

The Atlanta contenders are: J. Walter Thompson, WestWayne, 360 thinc and Fitzgerald & Co., according to Lee Birdsong, client advertising and marketing communications manager, who is conducting the review.

A dozen area agencies were asked to submit proposals by the Atlanta-based client. "We had a lot of strong performers," Birdsong said.

The review was motivated by the demise of incumbent Pollak Levitt & Partners in Atlanta last November. (PL&P was subsequently taken over by Trone Advertising of Greensboro, N.C.)

"We're going to give each finalist a little project to see how they work with those," said Birdsong.

Meetings with the agencies will focus on creative issues, she said, describing the business as a high- volume, high-maintenance account.

"It's great to have an assignment. This is a company that depends on branding, and that's fun," said Jeff Johnson, president of WestWayne. "They really want to communicate what they're like."

A final decision is expected in March.