‘In-Your-Face’ Rizzuti To Push TeleRewards

By Glen Fest

DALLAS–After a year’s worth of courting, Rizzuti, Beckman & Lyman made off with its biggest account win ever: advertising duties worth $5 million annually for a group of telecommunications services being marketed by the Signature Group.

The assignment is for the Schaumberg, Ill., firm’s TeleRewards, which offers long-distance, calling card and Internet amenities in one package for businesses and individuals.

‘I have worked on this behind the scenes for over a year,’ said managing director John Rizzuti, who said the shop got its foot in the door via a media representative’s reference. ‘This is a unique account for us to land. It puts us more into the consumer arena than we normally are, per our other clients’ in the computer hardware and software industries.

The new account boosts annual billings to about $20 million a year for the Carrollton, Texas, agency, according to Rizzuti.

Signature Group, owned by Montgomery Ward Holding Co. of Chicago, reports annual sales of $750 million and perhaps is best known for its Dining ˆ la Card restaurant rebate program.

Like Dining ˆ la Card, TeleRewards will be marketed through direct response vehicles. Rizzuti said his shop plans to sell it in its typical ‘in-your-face’ creative manner utilized for clients like Cyrix Computers.

The first execution is a double-truck ad emphasizing the products available with accumulated bonus points via the use of TeleRewards for telecommunications services. ‘Yakkety-yak . . . Get stuff back’ the ad blares, underneath photos of airline tickets, computers, golf clubs and camping gear.

Signature Group’s Mike Cashion, vice president for TeleRewards, said RB&L grew attractive for Signature because of the agency’s track record in both direct response and product launches.

Initial placements starting this week will include in-flight media plus magazines like Business Week and Inc. as well as USA Today.

The win gives Rizzuti its second account acquisition in less than a month. It recently was awarded a $2 million assignment by the North Carolina-based software firm American Institute for Financial Research.

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