French electricity giant shortlists agencies

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PARIS--National utility Electricite de France has established an initial agency list for a long-awaited competition for its estimated $35 million annual French advertising budget.

The account, held by independent Callegari Berville, Paris, since 1997, includes all brand and product advertising for EDF, a stateowned giant facing competition in its core electricity provision business for the first time this year.

In addition to the incumbent, other agencies pitching include the Paris shops of DDB Worldwide, CLM/ BBDO, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Publicis Conseil and Young & Rubicam.

The competition will entail two rounds of pitches, with a final decision expected in October.

The new agency will begin managing EDF advertising in January 2001.

Media buying remains with Mediapolis, Paris, a member of the Havas Advertising-controlled MPG Group.

EDF has also put 11 other marketing services accounts to tender, including direct marketing, client fidelity and polling activities.

Callegari-Berville is currently rolling out a new corporate identity campaign for EDF. The print, outdoor and TV campaign features 13 EDF agents who worked around-the-clock to restore power services shut down during massive storms nationwide last December and January under the signature slogan "All our energies are on your side."

While some industry experts say the campaign could be the agency's last, EDF insiders insist that the company is satisfied with Callegari Berville's work, adding that the public tender "is a matter of law, not a sign of displeasure."

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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