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Renters Choice, Levenson Become Fast Ad Partners

DALLAS-Levenson & Hill here was awarded the $15 million account of Renters Choice, a Dallas-based chain of 508 rent-to-own stores in more than 100 U.S. and Puerto Rican markets.
Renters Choice, the second largest such operation in the U.S. with $290 million in 1997 revenue, made its decision less than two weeks after contacting Dallas shops about its account, according to the agency.
As with most rent-to-own businesses, much of the advertising will be direct mail and free-standing inserts, said agency chairman Bill Hill, but promotions and broadcast assignments will also be included. The message will tout the service capabilities of Renters Choice, rather than being strictly image focused, according to Hill.
“Nobody is making a concerted effort to establish a brand” in the category, said Hill. “Pricing also does not seem to be a major issue. Convenience is a big issue here.”
Other Dallas shops contacted about the account, sources said, were Publicis/Bloom, Hadeler Sullivan & Law, TLPartnership and LM&S/Marc. The incumbent was The Bagwell Agency here.
The win provides a much-needed boost to Levenson after it lost its $12-15 million national Churchs Chicken account in December. The promotions and franchisee experience gained from that business helped the shop in attracting Renters Choice. Levenson will work with numerous regional officials in servicing Renters Choice.
Levenson had been forced to lay off staffers after the Churchs loss, but will begin restaffing those positions to handle Renters Choice, Hill said.
The Renters Choice organization has grown substantially this decade primarily through acquisitions, such as the 1996 buyout of rival Colortyme and last year’s purchase of Trans Texas Capital.