Levenson, Lender Near TV Deal

Associates First Capital Corp. of Irving, Texas, is in negotiations to possibly assign creative duties to Levenson & Hill, according to a company official.
Mike Meyer, senior vice president in Associates’ consumer marketing division, confirmed Levenson and the client are in talks to hire the Dallas agency for direct response television work in Texas.
Meyer said he would not confirm Levenson was the only agency under consideration, but sources said L&H bested Square One in Dallas and incumbent FCB Direct of San Francisco in a shootout that also involved two undisclosed Chicago direct response shops. The work is for the creative portion of Associates’ $5-10 million account. Media and all other advertising assignments are handled in-house.
Officials with Levenson & Hill referred calls to the client. FCB Direct executives and Square One principal Tom Hansen confirmed their shops were not selected.
Levenson previously handled duties for FirstPlus Financial in Dallas, one of Associates’ competitors in the home equity lending market. Levenson also has done financial services work for the Federal Home Loan Bank and RAC Financial, both Dallas.
For the past year, Associates has pushed its equity lending services through FCB’s television ads airing in Texas, Ohio and western Pennsylvania, company representative Joe Stroop told Adweek two weeks ago. Stroop has said company officials are undecided whether to launch services nationally in 1999.
Associates would be the third major account win of the year for Levenson. Last May the shop picked up the $8-10 million advertising account of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, shortly after being named agency of record for Renters Choice of Dallas. That $15 million piece of business grows to an estimated $60 million for 1999, following Renters Choice’s acquisition of larger rival Rent-A-Center.
–with Jane Irene Kell