Rock Financial Hires Berline Group as Shop

By Tanya Gazdik

DETROIT–The Berline Group, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has landed the account of Rock Financial, one of the largest and fastest growing independent mortgage banks in the country.

The Bingham Farms, Mich.-based company spent $1.3 million on advertising in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting. That figure will grow to $2 million in 1997 and $4-5 million in 1998 since the company intends to double its size, said Heather Jones, the client’s director of marketing and advertising.

Rock Financial, which includes Boulder Financial as a division, currently has nine offices in Michigan. An aggressive expansion plan kicks off June 23 with the opening of 12 facilities in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio over the next year, Jones said.

The Berline Group will be responsible for print and broadcast creative work, media planning and buying, as well as strategic planning and public relations support, said Jim Berline, chief executive officer of the agency. Previously, most of that work was done in-house with agencies, including Berline, working on occasional projects.

But the company’s intense growth period called for full-time help, Jones said. Rock officials informally reviewed 10 Michigan agencies about nine months ago, but were not ready to make the assignment at that point because they had such a large in-house department, she said. When Rock decided it was time to make the move to a full-time agency, Berline stood out, she said.

‘We really were impressed with their creative energy and ideas,’ Jones explained.

‘Then they really demonstrated that they have a strong command over media buying and planning. So they eventually got the whole ball of wax,’ Jones added.

The other finalist for the agency of record designation was Mars Advertising, Southfield, Jones said. Rock may assign Mars work on a project basis, where their capabilities would complement the assets of Berline, she added.

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