Guaranteed Rate taps Olson as PR, advertising AOR

Olson will handle both PR and advertising for home loan company Guaranteed Rate, which had done little marketing in the past.

CHICAGO: Home loan company Guaranteed Rate has selected Olson as its first AOR handling both PR and advertising after a review involving 19 agencies.

Large, mid-size, and small firms all participated in the RFP, said Guaranteed Rate CMO Darren Beck. He declined to name any of the other firms that competed in the review.

Beck said his company picked Olson because of its innovation, creative ideas, and “willingness to roll up their sleeves and get stuff done,” which he said is a trait of the Guaranteed Rate culture. He added that the company was also impressed with its work over the years with iconic brands, such as MillerCoors and Target.

Beck joined the company last month after serving as CMO for LendingTree for several years.

Olson is planning to launch a multi-million-dollar integrated marketing campaign for Guaranteed Rate next year. The firm, tasked with reaching consumers and media across an array of channels, will handle advertising, media, digital, PR, influencer engagement, and social media counsel.

Beck said Guaranteed Rate, which funded nearly $15 billion in loans last year, up from $7 billion in 2011, has done little to no marketing since it was founded in 2000. The company has used word-of-mouth marketing and customer referrals to fuel its growth.

“We're excited to do some marketing to make sure that the brand is better known nationwide,” he explained.

Olson's recently rebranded PR and social media unit, Olson Engage, will connect with a mix of consumer lifestyle, entertainment, and home-related media for the campaign, as well as some real-estate agents, said Beck. Blogger outreach is also included in the firm's scope of work.

Beck declined to provide information on the contract or the budget, but said the campaign is a multi-million-dollar initiative.

Guaranteed Rate has more than 165 offices around the country and is licensed in all 50 states. The company reported $496.5 million in revenue in 2012. 

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