Buffington Rizzo Gets Into Debt

ATLANTA-“You owe it to yourself” is the tagline that won Buffing-ton Rizzo the account of Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

The Atlanta shop bested local rival Scharbo & Co. Incumbent Slaughter Hanson Advertising in Birmingham, Ala., did not defend.

“Buffington Rizzo had a good grasp on our challenges,” said Gay Watson, director of public relations at the Atlanta firm. “I call it the paradox of positioning because we’re between serving the clients’ needs and the creditors who pay us.”

Founded in 1964, the service, which counsels consumers and acts as an advocate with debtors, was looking for a message that focused on controlling the debt monster, according to Watson.

Billings are estimated at $1 million, with additional funding from a $100,000 George Goodwin grant from Manning, Selvage & Lee, an Atlanta public relations firm. Pro bono print will run in Georgia Trend.

TV spots will show a series of clients. “We’ll keep it very black and white,” said agency president Diane Buffington, who said her team was inspired by a couple who burned their credit cards and turned the result into a sculpture.

The campaign breaks April 1 in Atlanta and South Florida. Eric Connor