Utilities group launches ad campaign

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As President Bush's administration unveils its national energy policy and residents of some Western states brace for a season of rolling blackouts, the Edison Electric Institute, an association of electric utility companies, launches a summer ad campaign.

The print ads were created by Oasis, New York, which won Edison's account in February. "Just when we began working on this, things became very volatile with the California crisis," said Paul Bernasconi, partner and creative director at Oasis.

The goals of the Edison campaign are two-fold: "To position Edison as the voice of reason in the industry and to position the industry as a positive presence in America," Mr. Bernasconi said.

To address the first goal, three ads spell out Edison's policy positions on deregulation, the nation's power supply and diversification of fuel sources. The ads will run from May through September in Washington, D.C.-based publications, including Congressional Quarterly, The National Journal, Roll Call and The Hill.

A broader part of the campaign that aims to shed light on the electric industry as a whole breaks June 5. Four executions, each with the tagline "Where do they get the energy?" focus on thriving business sectors and how they increasingly rely on electricity. "Given our situation in energy nationwide at this point, we're looking to re-emphasize the need for electricity to power the economy, and encourage people to think more about it," said Sam Tournabene, director of communication services at Edison. "Things that people take for granted are powered by electricity," he added.

Wall Street, the small business community, medicine and farming are each portrayed in an ad. The spreads will appear in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, American Heritage, The Weekly Standard, Business Week, Forbes and Fortune.

Media billings for both sets of ads are to reach $2 million.

Through the California crisis, the region's two major utility companies have continued ad efforts. In March, Pacific Gas & Electric launched a TV, print, radio and direct conservation campaign from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, San Francisco. Southern California Edison is currently airing its own conservation spots from Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles accompanied by an integrated marketing push-including direct mail, public relations and a Web site-from Publicis Groupe's Frankel Convergence121, Chicago.

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