TransUnion Enters a State of Financial ‘Zendough’

TransUnion, the nation’s third largest consumer credit report agency, this week launched a campaign touting a new online financial management tool.

The campaign, via the Chicago office of Cramer-Krasselt—an agency that works with clients like Corona and Heinz, among others—promotes “zendough,” a new, online tool for managing credit, debt and identity theft. The company is pitching the service, found online at Zendough.com, as an easy-to-use-and-understand tool that allows consumers to “make peace with [their] money.”

One spot, titled “Dragon,” shows a man being haunted by a destructive dragon, whose body is made of steel-cut numbers and dollar signs. “Can you control them? The shifting, changing interest rates that can devour what you’re worth?” the voiceover says. The man looks disturbed, but then crosses over to “zendough,” where he finds peaceful scenery. The ad concludes with the words: “Here you will find tools and knowledge to bring peace to your finances. Are you ready to achieve zendough?”

Lucy Duni, education director at zendough for TransUnion Interactive, a unit of TransUnion, said the new campaign appeals to different types of consumers who want to take charge of their finances. And, this message is particularly relevant, she said: “For the longest time, people felt that things were out of control. Now, [here is] something they can use to take care of themselves.”

Marshall Ross, chief creative officer at C-K, said the ads are the culmination of a yearlong project with TransUnion. The agency was tasked with researching consumer needs, and then coming up with a product and a storyline to express that insight.

Whereas traditional category ads usually play up the financial fear or uncertainty, the new creative takes it to a different level. “This isn’t just a tool you can use to save yourself from crisis,” Ross said. “It’s something you can use to bring yourself to a place of improvement, of mastery, and that’s a whole different space, and that’s what’s different about the promise.”

In keeping with its target audience, the campaign has a heavy digital component. The ads are running on business and financial news sites like Forbes.com and Fortune.com. TransUnion has also secured sponsorships with popular online video site Hulu.com.

TransUnion spent $4 million on advertising during the first nine months of 2009, down from $11 million in 2008, excluding online, per the Nielsen Co.