Energy Site Empowers Pagano

Following its recent receipt of $15 million in first-round venture capital funding, Web-based energy marketplace has selected Pagano Schenck & Kay as its first advertising agency of record.

The initial budget is $8-10 million.

The Newton, Mass., company at first had named Clarke Goward, Boston, and Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I., as finalists in its first agency review [Adweek, July 8].

However, after meeting with both agencies, ChooseEnergy decided to schedule another meeting with Pagano, which had been eliminated earlier in the competition. “We never put them [completely] out of the picture,” said ChooseEnergy director of corporate communications Ethel Kaiden. “They came very highly recommended.” After meeting with Pagano again, ChooseEnergy was “wowed” by the Boston agency, Kaiden added.

“They probably began to realize how complex their business model was and that we had a very good understanding of what they do,” said agency president Beau Fraser, who is leading the account. Part of the complexity, according to Fraser, comes because ChooseEnergy is targeting multiple constituencies, including consumers, businesses and government regulators, who each receive different benefits from energy deregulation.

Work will include messaging and branding, print and television advertising and possibly radio. The agency will also handle media buying. Ads are slated to appear this fall in local markets across the U.S.

“The challenge will be to find out what the category benefit will be for a category that doesn’t exist and pre-empt it for ChooseEnergy,” said Fraser.

With the additional funding, ChooseEnergy also increased the staff of its internal marketing department within the past two months, adding Kaiden, Karrie Hamel as advertising and promotions manager and Brenda Hooper as creative director.

The company also hired PepperCom, New York, as its public relations agency, with an annual budget of nearly half a million dollars.

“People don’t think too much about energy, but deregulation is forcing people to be far more in-tune to it,” Fraser said.

ChooseEnergy was formed in 1998 in cooperation with a network of energy suppliers. The company offers a free “compare and buy” energy analysis for residential, commercial and industrial consumers of electricity, natural gas, oil and propane.