Residential lenders need headache relief - unless they use the correspondent srevices of Anchor Mortgage.

That's the theme of an unusual, yearlong advertising campaign launched last month by the Wayne, N.J., company.

It is believed to be the first mortgage company campaign to offer a product coupon.

A series of three ads - appearing monthly in Secondary Marketing Executive, Mortgage Banking, and Real Estate Finance Today - attempts to show how Anchor and loan brokers make a fine couple.

Unusual Tie-In

One ad stands out: Under the tag line, "Until you switch to Anchor, this might help," is a $1 coupon for a bottle of Excedrin.

Ad executives called it "highly unusual" for Excedrin and its parent, Bristol-Myers, to be in an ad for a mortgage company - especially since the ads will appear to trade publications that have relatively small circulations.

"I am sure it is just a 'sure, whatever' type of thing" for Bristol-Myers, said one executive at a major New York advertising agency.

'A Way to Break Through'

The executive doubted Bristol expected to reap market share from the Anchor ads.

For Anchor, the coupon was "a way to break through what everyone else is running and ... get people to stop and read your message," said Jeri Telchin, director of marketing at Anchor Bancorp, the lender's parent.

Korey, Kay & Partners, a New York ad agency, created the campaign in about five weeks, said Allen Kay, chairman.

The ads are an attempt to reach the human element in mortgage banking, he said.

The message was: "Scratch a banker and find a human being," Mr. Kay said.

After the ads were conveived, Bristol-Myers was asked whether Excedrin could be use. Ms. Telchin said Bristol-Myers encouraged it.

Relatively Inexpensive

Anchor's Ms. Telchin declined to specify how much the lender was spending on the campaign. She did say it was relatively inexpensive because the ads were appearing in trade journals.

Anchor does not expect anyone to actually use the coupons, Ms. Telchin said. In fact, the company is not even tracking coupon redemption.

A similar promotion was conceived several months ago by Patrick H. Seroka, president of Seroka & Associates Inc., a Brookfield, Wis., marketing concern. Mr. Seroka tried to use Pepto-Bismol antacid in an ad for a major Midwest lender he declined to identify.

But Mr. Seroka ran into legal problems with Pepto-Bismol. The ad could not claim that the product actually relieves upset stomach. The "watered-down version" of the ad lacked marketing bite for the lender, he said.

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