Mullen has been tapped by LendingTree.com to help position the site as the "dominant player" in the online lending category.
The Wenham, Mass., agency was assigned the $50 million account following a review that included its sister Interpublic Group shops Lowe & Partners, New York, and The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va. AAR/Bob Wolf Partners, New York, oversaw the competition.
LendingTree had worked with Frankfurt Balkind Partners in New York, but the work awarded to Mullen consists of a greatly expanded, "next-level" assignment, said Reginald Bowser, vice president of marketing for the Charlotte, N.C.-based client. Mullen is charged with developing a first-quarter multimedia campaign "to put us in a position to overtake the market," he said.
"Our thinking and work demonstrated how we would help establish LendingTree as the dominant brand in the lending category," said Mullen president and CEO Joe Grimaldi, in a statement issued by the client.
With $50 million to spend on ads and no clear online lending leader, Mullen may indeed have a shot at making LendingTree top of mind among consumers.
The company's biggest competitor is Dublin, Calif.-based E-Loan, which works with Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, and has spent $4.1 million on ads this year, per Competitive Media Reporting. Its tagline: "A better way to get a loan."
LendingTree and E-Loan had the same number of visitors in September, slightly more than 190,000 users, which is "not an extremely high" number for an e-commerce site, said Michelle Beilsmith of Media Metrix in New York.