TurboTax Reviews its Advertising Business | Adweek
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TurboTax Contacts Creative Agencies

Brand's media spending hovers around $100 million a year

TurboTax skewers rivals in recent ads.

As TurboTax emerges from the dust of a hyper-competitive tax-preparation season, the brand is already thinking about next year.

TurboTax, a San Diego-based unit of Intuit, has contacted creative agencies—via a consultant—about its advertising business. The consultant is Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif.

The software rival to bricks-and-mortar stalwarts like H&R Block spent more than $100 million in media last year, according to Nielsen.

TurboTax’s review encompasses creative and media planning responsibilities, according to an initial questionnaire from SRI. In the document, the tax preparer indicates a preference for a West Coast-based agency and lays out the steps in the process. TurboTax hopes to complete its search in July.

The incumbent, Interpublic Group's Dailey in West Hollywood, Calif., is not defending.

In a statement, Tom Lehr, Dailey's president and CEO, said the shop was "very proud" of its past work for TurboTax, noting that Dailey launched the brand with an $800,000 test market campaign 11 years ago and that this past year more than 26 million tax returns were filed using TurboTax. "We ... wish them all the best in the future," Lehr added.

An Intuit representative confirmed the search, saying that "while Dailey has been a valued partner, in light of changing business needs and a rapidly evolving external environment, we believe it's time for fresh perspective and creative insight that will strengthen the TurboTax brand and accelerate our go-to-market strategy."

TurboTax made some noise in its advertising this year through a campaign that skewered rivals’ “tax experts.” In one TV ad, a fortysomething guy repairing a water pipe in a home kitchen reminds the homeowner that he prepared his taxes last year.

H&R Block took umbrage with the campaign and went to court, seeking an injunction to stop the ads. A federal judge, however, denied the company’s legal motion. Interestingly, Dailey did not create those ads.

Last month, while revealing underwhelming sales results for TurboTax this year, Intuit CEO Brad Smith said, “While we’re disappointed in the outcome for TurboTax, we maintained our strong leadership position in the fastest growing segment of tax preparation and saw impressive results in mobile.”

Perhaps with the advertising in mind, Smith added that the company already has “exciting efforts underway to strengthen our offering next season.”

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