Southern Company launches television advertising campaign

Southern Company, the largest producer of electricity in the United States, has launched the first major national television advertising campaign for a U.S. electric utility. The campaign will debut on television on January 20, 1997, and it has been running in print since November 1996.

The $10 million campaign highlights Southern Company’s competitive experience in nine countries on four continents as well as its superior performance, its success at keeping electricity costs among the lowest in the nation, and its 97 percent customer satisfaction rating one of the best in the industry.

“Southern Company will be a leader in the highly competitive energy markets of the 21st century,” said Lee Birdsong, the company’s advertising manager. “This campaign, both in tone and content, demonstrates Southern Company’s leadership in this rapidly changing industry and introduces Southern Company to potential new customers and business partners outside our traditional service territory.”

Southern Company, based in Atlanta, supplies electricity to a region of more than 11 million people in a four-state area of the southeastern United States. The company also operates facilities that provide electricity to customers in England, Argentina, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.

The new advertising campaign is aimed at business leaders, financial analysts, and large consumers of power. These groups, Southern Company research has shown, are already identifying the most efficient utilities - power producers that exhibit the traits of businesses operating in highly competitive environments.

Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky, a New York based advertising and strategic communications firm, created the campaign.

“Typically, utilities are not seen as business innovators that deliver value to customers,” said Iva Silver, creative director at the firm. “But Southern Company is a different kind of utility. Like Southern Company, the campaign is strong, smart, and innovative.”

Both the television and print campaigns use images composed of electrical cords and plugs to build awareness of the Southern Company brand. The print campaign was developed using computer-generated graphics, and the television spots use a combination of stop-motion photography and frame composite work.

The 30-second television spots will appear on national network TV and national and international cable networks. Print ads are running in Forbes, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and other international business publications.

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is the parent company of five electric utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, and Savannah Electric. It also markets energy-related services and mobile radio services under the Southern name. Its Southern Energy Inc. subsidiary develops, builds, owns, and operates power production and delivery facilities and provides a broad range of services to utilities and industrial companies in the U.S. and international markets.

Southern Company’s common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.