Rent-A-Center Subs ‘Bob’ for Madden

DALLAS A character named “Bob” replaces celebrity spokesperson John Madden in a new national television spot for Rent-A-Center breaking Monday.

Havas’ Brann Dallas senior vice president and chief creative officer Anthony Massa said while the National Football League broadcaster raised awareness for the rent-to-own retailer in the three years he was the company’s spokesman, he has gotten to be “a little oversaturated” with other brands he represents.

Massa added that focus groups said they wanted to relate to someone in the spots. “We’re not sure that Madden had the same relevance,” Massa said. “He built awareness, but would John Madden go there?”

The 30-second spot from Brann introduces someone who presumably would—Bob, a twentysomething whom Massa describes as “unassuming” and “a little blue collar.” In the commercial, a date tells Bob she wants to come over, so Bob rushes to replace his mismatched furniture and appliances with pieces from Rent-A-Center. The ad then shows Bob looking at the client’s refrigerators, sofas and televisions before cutting to the logo and phone number. At the end of the spot, Bob welcomes his date, who sees a roomful of nice furnishings and says, “Hey, great place Bob.”

Another spot breaking in three months will feature Bob’s friends, who invite themselves over frequently once they learn he has rented so many things.

Bob will likely begin appearing in freestanding print inserts as well, Massa said.

Brann also worked with The Lucero Group of Dallas to create a national Hispanic spot. In it, a father’s worries that his new son-in-law will not be able to provide for his daughter are quelled when he sees the modern Rent-A-Center furniture in her apartment. A future spot will use a tongue-in-cheek approach about getting rid of furniture that is falling apart.

The general-market spots will run nationally on cable and network. The Hispanic spot will run nationally and in Puerto Rico on Univision, with heavier play in cities with high Latino populations like Miami, Massa said.

The effort is the first for the client under Massa, who was hired last September to elevate the shop’s creative product.

Campaign spending is undisclosed. The Plano, Texas-based client spent $23 million on media last year, according to CMR.