RealTime IT News

E-Loan Bets on Television

E-Loan , one of the few dot-coms advertising on television these days, is planning to increase the scope of its ad campaign.

The Dublin, Calif.-based Internet loan provider said it would extend its campaign through October. Previously, the effort had launched in July as only a short-term test.

The expanded buy will use the same four ads as had the original trial run. San Francisco's Pickett Advertising, agency of record handling E-Loan's estimated $15 million ad spending, designed the creative, which concentrates on home equity and mortgage refinancing. The ads will continue to appear on major national cable networks, including CNBC, CNNfn, Headline News, MSNBC, and TNT.

E-Loan said the decision came about because it saw a marked up-tick in interest from consumers, and that it will continue to monitor the campaign's impact on brand awareness and sales to decide when to call it off.

"The impressive preliminary results generated from our first month of testing the campaign demonstrate that our brand message of trust, transparency and superior service resonates with consumers," said Bob Purcell, E-Loan senior vice president of marketing. The campaign "is increasing traffic and applications for our entire product line, including purchase mortgage and auto. At the same time, it's complementing E-Loan's other targeted marketing programs such as direct mail."

E-Loan, which is profitable, remains one of the few pure-play Internet firms advertising on television, a decision enabled by its relative success in establishing a cash flow-positive operation.

On the other hand, financial Internet plays in general continue to show relative staying power on the television advertising scene, more so than do other sectors, such as e-commerce or content. E*Trade , Ameritrade and Datek (the latter two of which are merging) have dropped big bucks on television advertising campaigns during the first half of the year.

Ironically, another pure-play spending on TV is E-Loan rival LendingTree.com , which in 1999 tapped Mullen to take over its estimated $50 million account. While LendingTree has since reduced its ad spending -- the firm said it expects to drop about $40 million on all of its marketing activities during 2002 -- it continues to advertise.

While dot-com advertising remains a shadow of its heyday in the late 90s, a related industry continues to embrace big-budget marketing expenses in spite of similar woes. Personal computer manufacturers Dell , Gateway , Hewlett-Packard and Apple all are fielding major television ad campaigns in defiance of the prolonged malaise afflicting consumer PC sales and sapping corporate earnings.