Old Ties Help Akron Shop Win Rent-Way Review

A former relationship helped Hitchcock Fleming & Associates win Rent-Way’s $20 million account following a two-month review.

The Akron, Ohio, shop bested three undisclosed agencies to land the Erie, Pa.-based rent-to-own retail chain. The incumbent, Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City, Mo., did not defend.

Rent-Way’s recently appointed vice president of marketing Roger Zwingler worked with HFA for 30-years while director of marketing at Goodyear Tire & Rubber in Akron. HFA does retail work for Goodyear.

“They have done a fantastic job for Goodyear and they know retail,” Zwingler said.

Jack DeLeo, HFA’s president and CEO, credited the win to the shop’s ability to help Rent-Way “conduct extensive customer research.” The agency is interviewing candidates for a freelance account planning position that would handle research for the brand that will be overseen by Zwingler.

“We really want to know what drives the consumer and how we can create a brand personality that sets us apart from the competition,” Zwingler said.

Rent-Way, the second-largest rent-to-own chain behind Rent-A-Center, spent $5 million last year according to CMR, a figure Zwingler said did not come close the the client’s overall marketing budget. With HFA, Rent-Way plans more broadcast advertising, DeLeo said.

HFA’s first work will be “pretty straightforward retail [ads], focusing on price and product,” that will run through December, DeLeo said.

A more extensive multimedia campaign predicated on the results of the agency’s research is set for in January. No tagline has been determined to replace the current “The right way. Right away.”

Rent-Way has been scrambling to recover from an accounting scandal that saw its stock price plummet in 2000, according to Hoover’s Online. Rent-Way has 1,000 stores in 41 states.