Ditech’s ‘Smart’ New Direction

LOS ANGELES Ground Zero this week broke its first work for prime lender Ditech after adding creative chores on the $90 million account following a review that concluded last month, the client said.

The multimedia effort from the Los Angeles agency is tagged “People are smart” and features a voiceover by actor David Koechner—along with a deliberately unpolished looking animation by Nylon here.

“It’s a grown-up category,” said Ground Zero founder and creative partner Court Crandall. “It will be able to prove that we can get the phones to ring in the short term and build the brand in the long term.” Gone are the old tag, “Lost another one to Ditech,” as well as the campy tone and long-suffering loan officer of past campaigns. “He perpetuated the impression that Ditech is a sub-prime lender, which they are not,” Crandall explained.

“It means a lot to us because it is a new category, it’s direct-response related, and the work has to make the phone ring,” he said. “It allows us to develop our capabilities in other areas, such as creating their e-commerce Web site, which we just re-skinned with a complete overhaul, and designing the internal materials for the company.”

Ditech, a unit of General Motors Acceptance Corp., chose independent Ground Zero over finalists davidandgoliath, El Segundo, Calif., and Targetcom, Chicago, per sources. Previous work had been assigned on a project basis to various shops.

“We are trying to realign the perceptions of the brand with what we really do,” said Keith Goldberg, client svp of marketing, who joined the company last November. “We had immensely high unaided brand awareness and customer satisfaction, but among those were too many people who thought we were a sub-prime lender.”

Crandall developed the work with creative directors Noah Clark and Dan McCormack. Andre Fiorini designed the new logo.

“We looked at the whole category—it was all bottom feeders yelling rate, rate, rate or had a soporific tone of living the American dream. Neither seemed particularly ownable or relevant,” said Crandall.

Starcom’s GM Planworks and Intermedia handle media buying, which was not in play.

Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Ditech spent $90 million on measured media in 2006 and more than $20 million through March 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.