Jackson Hewitt’s Joy of Taxes

Although about 70 percent of people receive refunds, many ads in the tax preparation category discuss minimizing the pain of the season. A new push from Jackson Hewitt, however, is all about the joy of a big refund check.

The TV, print, outdoor and online campaign from Zimmerman Advertising illustrates the notion of large refunds by showing consumers toting around giant checks (like the kind presented at charity events) after visiting Jackson Hewitt. The approach contrasts with rival H&R Block’s ad campaign, which touts the firm’s ability to answer tough tax questions.

Client marketing chief Debra Dowd, who joined Jackson Hewitt a year ago after serving as head of marketing for Almay Cosmetics at Revlon, among other posts, said that emphasizing refunds was a “really obvious place to go,” since research showed that many Americans actually look forward to tax time.

“It’s one of the largest checks you’ll get this year,” she said, noting that the sour economy puts people even more in the mood to get some cash back. A radio ad emphasizes the joy of refunds with cries of “Let’s go to a ball game!” and “Let’s go to our favorite restaurant!”

Ads breaking on Jan. 11 will also be tagged to show Jackson Hewitt’s affiliation with Walmart. Earlier this month, the tax firm announced it was expanding its in-store footprint at the retailer to 1,800-1,900 locations, vs. the previous estimate of 1,500-1,750. Dowd said the Walmart association dovetails neatly with Jackson Hewitt’s demographic target: “Main Street Americans.”

Dowd declined to say what Jackson Hewitt planned to spend on the campaign. The company spent $25 million in domestic measured media through October of this year, per Nielsen.