Lender’s TV, Radio In Play

Associates First Capital Corp. in Irving, Texas, has parted with FCB Direct in San Francisco and is currently reviewing the broadcast creative portion of its $5-10 million account.
FCB officials confirmed their relationship with Associates has ended and the account has gone into review. The agency is not defending.
Insiders said Associates is talking with full-service and direct response shops in Dallas and other undisclosed markets, with presentations scheduled before Christmas. Media planning and buying are not included, and print and direct mail are handled in-house, per sources.
The review is reportedly headed by client marketing executive Mike Meyer, a former principal with Meyer & Johnson, an ex-Associates roster shop in Dallas. Meyer and other officials could not be reached for comment at press time.
FCB utilized former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw as pitchman and touted the client’s home equity loan services, the largest segment of the company. Those direct response ads, tagged “We make loans that make life better,” had heavy play in Texas, where a 1997 state referendum lifted a century-old ban on equity loans and opened up a potential $100 billion market for lenders.
According to Competitive Media Reporting, Associates boosted advertising spending from $1.4 million in 1997 to $4.8 million through October 1998. The company is the nation’s largest publicly traded consumer finance organization with $64 billion in total assets, per Hoover’s Online.
–with Jane Irene Kelly