3 Atlanta Agencies Are Finalists in Mirant Review

A decision in the $12 million Mirant review is expected this week.

Mirant, an energy wholesaler spun off from the Southern Company utility last fall, narrowed its list of contenders to three Atlanta finalists: Cole Henderson Drake, Trone and WestWayne.

Iconologic, Sawyer Riley Compton and DWP/Bates Technology, all Atlanta shops, were eliminated in early rounds of the competition

Each finalist, sources said, was taking a different tack in the review.

“We’ve tried to polarize ourselves as much as possible,” said Cole Henderson Drake creative director Chris Jacobs. “They are either going to love us or hate us.”

WestWayne is counting on its solid business-to-business experience, big-brand background (it handled Bell South’s wireless business until that brand was folded in Cingular last year) and the high-concept executions of chief creative officer Luke Sullivan.

Trone Atlanta is banking on its insider status. The shop, a unit of Trone Advertising in Greensboro, N.C., is made up of alumni from Pollack Levitt & Partners. (Trone Atlanta was formed when PL&P closed last October.)

PL&P held Georgia Power’s marketing account from 1996 to 2000. Georgia Power is a subsidiary of the Southern Company; its former chief executive officer Bill Dahlberg now heads Mirant.

Trone Atlanta president Jackson Houk, who left Georgia Power last January after serving as manager of marketing communications, is said to be close to his former employer.

Trone has been doing project work for Mirant, including print advertising and media planning and placement, since early this year.

“We were asked to help because we have a utilities background,” said Houk. “This is not a lock. After doing business with us for six months, the client knows the good and the bad. In a review they only see the good.”

Ongoing marketing positions Mirant as a business-to-business operation with strong investment potential.