O’Leary Invites ‘Credit-Challenged’ to DriveTime

LOS ANGELES The humiliation of bad credit is at the center of a campaign from O’Leary and Partners for automotive financing dealership DriveTime.

The effort includes the Irvine, Calif., shop’s first television work for the client since winning the business last May. Radio ads are also in the mix. Media spending is estimated at more than $10 million.

Three 30-second TV spots take place at a car dealership. In one ad, a salesman informs a male customer that they are “almost there” and said his managers are looking over the credit report. A voice over the loudspeaker announces that the guy has “a few hiccups” in his credit report and will literally “have to jump through some hoops” to obtain loan approval. The narrator says, “At DriveTime, we write our own loans, so credit problems are nothing to worry about.”

In another spot, a couple is talking to a salesman when a voice over the loudspeaker asks, “Ron, did you ask about the credit?” When asked about his credit history, the man flees, leaving his pregnant wife behind. As she looks uncomfortably at the salesman, he nods in the direction of her husband, indicating that she is free to follow suit.

A third execution has a man eager to participate in the “big money fun grab” and enter a booth in which he can attempt to grab cash. His female companion volunteers that their credit is “not that good,” and instead of the chance to grab greenbacks, he is instead placed in the “penny pelter.”

The ads primarily target adults ages 18-35 who are “honest and hardworking,” but have suffered some financial setbacks and are “credit-challenged,” said O’Leary executive creative director Scott Montgomery. “These are the kind of people who don’t answer their phone at home and are afraid to go to the mailbox,” said Montgomery. “When they go on the [car] lot, they are intimidated.” The spots are meant to inform consumers that they will not be looked down upon at DriveTime, he said.

The spots are running in major metropolitan markets stretching from Southern California into the Southeast and as far north as Richmond, Va.

Headquartered in Phoenix, DriveTime changed its name in 2002 from Ugly Ducking Corp. The company provides financing to people with less than perfect credit in eight states and 11 major metropolitan regions through 76 dealerships.