Advance America Goes To BBDO

A former client has returned to BBDO South here, albeit with a new company, as the agency was selected to handle the advertising account of Advance America.
The client said its account had been with Bazil-Victory in Greenville, S.C. Other undisclosed agencies were contacted about the business, but “this wasn’t a competitive shootout,” according to BBDO South president and chief executive officer Chris Hall.
Working in BBDO South’s favor was the presence of Vicki Woodward, vice president of marketing and advertising for the Spartanburg, S.C.-based client. Woodward had worked with the agency before when she was employed at Hardee’s/Advantica, a former client of the shop.
“Our aggressive growth plan requires a depth of resources in all aspects of marketing and brand building,” Woodward said in a statement. “I had a successful experience with BBDO South when I was at Advantica. I know the team and the players.”
Advance America, which began operations in August 1997, provides deferred-deposit overdraft protection services through 300 branches around the country. (It plans to open 100 more by the end of the year.) The company allows customers, who are employed and have active checking accounts, to receive a cash advance against their next paycheck for a fee. Advance said it plans to spend $12 million next year on advertising.
BBDO’s Hall said the prime audience for Advance would be middle- and low-income people.
“There are a lot of people out there who are living paycheck to paycheck,” Hall said. “Sometimes they have an emergency between paychecks . . . someone’s furnace blows up, someone has a medical emergency.”
The agency, which officially takes over the account Nov. 6., met with client officials last week in Atlanta. BBDO’s first assignment will involve a brand positioning study.
Hall said he expects Advance America to be a media-intensive piece of business.