Slack Barshinger Will Handle Push to Utilities

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Distribution Control Systems Inc., a maker of automatic meter reading systems for utility meters, named Slack Barshinger, Chicago, as its ad agency of record.


The agency will handle the client's Two-Way Automatic Communications System. There was no incumbent agency of record, but Illustrated Man, St. Louis, previously handled the account on a project basis.


"We're addressing the challenges of broadening their marketplace and target audience," said Ted Swartz, vice president and client team leader at Slack Barshinger.


The agency, a specialist in business-to-business marketing, is responsible for TWACS' advertising, direct and interactive marketing, trade show communications and public relations. All tactics will support TWACS' technology marketing push to the utility industries. Billings were not disclosed.


Slack Barshinger clients include eBay Business, Orbitz for Business, ServiceMaster Clean, eBay's PayPal, AC Nielsen and the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute's Pack Expo shows.


TWACS is a fixed-network utility communication system offering low-cost, two-way communication between electric, gas and water utilities and their consumers. The technology is ideal for automatic meter reading, load control and assorted remote monitoring services.


DCSI has made and marketed TWACS power line communication technology for 27 years. It has more than 160 investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives and public power companies as clients.


The company's main target is electric utilities. But that marketplace is divided into three segments: the investor-owned utility, municipal owned and electric cooperatives.


"The trend in the industry is that investor-owned utilities are large, and they tend to serve the largest municipalities in the United States," Swartz said. "Municipal utilities tend to serve the middle-market cities, and co-ops very often are rural in nature. Each of these segments has unique needs, and we need very unique ways of reaching them."


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