Digitas Wins Creative, Media for Equifax Consumer Business

Credit Report and Identity Theft Brand Turns to Publicis Shop for Broad Scope of Marketing, Digital Duties

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Equifax has named Digitas the creative and media agency of record for the credit report and identity-theft protection company's direct-to-consumer business, after a review. The account will be handled out of the Publicis Groupe agency's Atlanta office.

Duties for Digitas will include brand marketing, acquisition and customer-relationship management in TV, digital, social media and mobile, as well as planning and buying for all media. For Digitas, an agency known primarily for its digital offerings, the win is the first of the year that was a consolidated pitch.

The selection of Digitas was "to help us break through the noise in the category to elevate the brand and deliver appreciable direct-response subscriber growth," said Trey Loughran, president of Equifax Personal Information Solutions, the company's direct-to-consumer unit. "What Digitas brings is powerful media buying, innovative thinking and a data and insight-driven approach, which will allow us to evolve position of the brand and be more effective with our media dollars."

Equifax did not comment on other agencies involved in the review, but it was believed that Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen and WPP's Ogilvy & Mather participated. Incumbent BKV handled the Equifax account for five years, but was believed to not have participated in the review. Mr. Loughran said Equifax "had a very positive and productive relationship with BKV." The review was conducted by consultancy SRI.

Although Equifax is one of the three big credit-reporting and identity-theft companies -- the other two are Experian and TransUnion -- its measured media budget is relatively small. "We're competing against much larger players, so it's important for us to be efficient with our media spend," said Mr. Loughran. "We were comfortable with Digitas' ability to analyze and optimize that media spend." He added that the majority of Equifax's media spending is on digital.

Equifax in 2010 spent $23.3 million on U.S. measured media, according to Kantar. Compare that to Experian, whose marketing primarily runs under the FreeCreditReport.com, LowerMyBills.com and FreeCreditScore.com brands. Experian's total measured media spending for the U.S. in 2010 was $310.2 million.

Mr. Loughran said it is key for the brand that Equifax goes to market under one name. Many consumers are familiar with FreeCreditReport.com, but not necessarily with Experian. "The consumer-credit and identity-protection category is cluttered and dominated by companies with deeper pockets and spend spread across multiple brands. Of all the players in the space, we're the only ones going out under our brand," he said.

Last year, the direct-to-consumer unit of Equifax had $157 million in revenue. Year to date, it's up 12%, said Mr. Loughran.

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