LendingTree Taps Euro RSCG for Creative Chores

BOSTON LendingTree has named Havas’ Euro RSCG as its lead creative agency, though incumbent Mullen, a unit of Interpublic Group, remains on the roster for media chores through its MediaHub unit, the client has confirmed.

Euro RSCG in New York was tapped following a review in which only that shop and Mullen competed, an agency rep said. Euro is now tasked with crafting a broad integrated campaign to re-launch the online mortgage lending service. A launch date for the push has not been determined.

LendingTree had recently worked with Euro RSCG on some pubic relations projects and the decision to pit the shop against Mullen stemmed from that relationship, the Euro RSCG rep said, declining to elaborate.

Doug Lebda, LendingTree founder and president of parent company IAC/Interactive Corp., said Euro was given a broader role because “LendingTree is at a major inflection point and requires an agency partner that thrives on innovation and speed to market. We believe Euro can deliver that.”

LendingTree spent $225 million on ads through the first nine months of 2007, almost doubling its outlay from the previous year, per TNS Media Intelligence. Along with media, Mullen handled offline creative chores on the business. The client spent more than $80 million last year in traditional media; though Mullen’s exact share could not be immediately determined, it likely exceeded $50 million.

Despite the impending loss of LendingTree’s creative assignment, a Mullen rep said there would be no layoffs at the Wenham, Mass.-based shop.

Internet conglomerate IAC this week said it posted a Q4 loss of $370 million, partially because of costs associated with chairman and CEO Barry Diller’s plan to divide the company with disparate Internet assets into several different entities. LendingTree also dragged down earnings as the U.S. housing and credit markets continued to work their way through significant slumps, per IAC.

Mullen added LendingTree after a review in 1999; the shop also works for other IAC properties such as Ask.com and Match.com.