RAC Financial Group plans to step into the spotlight with help from the man who made Money Store a household name.

The home equity lender hired Mauro Appezzato, former president of Money Store Inc.'s in-house advertising agency, to develop campaigns for its Firstplus loan products.

"We're certain that he will accelerate our drive to turn Firstplus into a national brand name," said Daniel T. Phillips, RAC Financial's chief executive.

Mr. Appezzato said he hopes to duplicate with RAC's spokesman, Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, the kind of success he and pitcher turned pitchman Jim Palmer scored for The Money Store.

The veteran ad man, who has spent more than two decades on Madison Avenue and with private companies, has high hopes for the effort. RAC Financial, he said, "Is a young, aggressive, and innovative company that will undoubtedly be one of the industry leaders in providing financial services to homeowners nationwide."

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