After a competitive pitch, Meridian Energy is thought to have given its business to Barnes, Catmur & Friends, bringing an end to a four-ish year relationship with Assignment.
When asked if they could confirm the decision, a spokesperson said: "Meridian is currently in negotiations with an agency. We won't be making an announcement until this process is complete." And no-one from Barnes, Catmur would comment. But it's thought the decision has been made and the paperwork is being signed.
Shine, Y&R and Assignment were rumoured to be among the other contenders.
It's thought the brief revolved around trying to give Meridian a point of difference in the market—with or without its mascot of the last few years and Hauraki breakfast co-host, Jeremy Wells, who seems to have done a pretty good job of that over the years. And it was also thought to be about bringing its brand and retail marketing a bit closer together.
Over the past few years, Nielsen AIS figures show Meridian has been the biggest spender among the energy companies, almost $3 million ahead of its nearest competitor Mercury, and it increased its spend by around $2 million between 2012 and 2013.
Assignment has used Wells well to tell Meridian's renewable story (and, more recently, its CSR story with KidsCan) and few would argue that it takes the prize as the country's most entertaining energy brand. It even produced a fake magazine called Gusty a few years back to honour its West Wind project.
According to Wikipedia, Meridian, which is the country's biggest renewable generator, has increased its retail market share from 12 percent in 2003 to 14 percent this year, placing it fourth on the list behind Contact, Genesis and Mighty River.
Meridian also owns Powershop.