Rent-A-Center Wants R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Levenson & Hill Ready to Release Uplifting Advertising for Retailer
DALLAS–Levenson & Hill here is looking to place a pretty face on a disparaged retail industry when it launches a $5-8 million image campaign for the nation’s largest rent-to-own chain.
A series of 30-second television commercials for Dallas-based Rent-A-Center stores will feature a friendly message of empowerment to credit-starved consumers seeking name-brand electronics, furniture and appliances. The executions, plus a radio component, break Wednesday throughout the †.S. and Puerto Rico with the tagline, “It’s your thing, do what you want to do.”
Levenson chairman Bill Hill said the goal of the campaign is to overcome two impediments to store traffic: customer wariness and a lack of respect many lower-income consumers without credit feel in department stores.
“One of the purposes was to project a different store experience than some people may have in their mind,” Hill said last week.
Three commercials feature each major category of goods at Rent-A-Center, with people finding immediate satisfaction for their home theater or living room furniture needs.
Hill said the customer service approach is the result of Rent-A-Center’s desire for ads to complement its employee quality training procedures enacted at the chain.
Rent-A-Center, formerly headquartered in Wichita, Kan., was acquired last year by No. 2 rival Renters Choice, a Levenson & Hill client.
Dallas-based Renters Choice has since absorbed the Rent-A-Center chain and is adopting that name for its own stores and its corporate identity. Rent-A-Center’s chairman is Ernest Talley, one of the pioneers of the rent-to-own business.
Total annual billings for the collateral-heavy account are projected at $55-60 million by the client. Ann Davids, vice president of marketing and advertising for the 2,100-store chain, could not be reached. The agency plans buys on syndicated and network television as well as Spanish-language outlets.