A scene from one of the commercials for First Horizon Bank with Mack Wilbourn, a multi-franchise restaurant owner.

Mindgruve, a San Diego-based digital marketing agency, was recently honored in the 2023 AVA Digital Awards competition for its “Let’s Find a Way” advertising campaign for First Horizon Bank.

Mindgruve said it was recognized with a Platinum Award, an honor the top 16 percent of entrants earn, in the digital advertising and video production categories.

“This recognition by the AVA Digital Awards is a testament to the experience and creativity of our team in the financial services industry, and our commitment to delivering innovative and effective solutions to our clients,” Chad Robley, Mindgruve founder and CEO, told Times of San Diego.

The AVA awards program is sponsored and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The international competition draws entries from production, marketing, communication, advertising, public relations and freelance professionals.

Mindgruve said its “Let’s Find a Way” campaign, launched in April 2022, is designed to expand awareness and establish trust with existing and potential clients of First Horizon Bank, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. The campaign includes a series of 30-second TV spots that showcase the bank’s commitment to building and nurturing personal relationships with its clients.

One of the spots features Mack Wilbourn, a multi-franchise restaurant owner who opened a Popeyes location in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 1996 and has opened 10 additional restaurants since then. The spot focuses on Wilbourn’s future plans in a conversation with First Horizon Bank senior VP Mark DiLuzio who says, “Let’s find a way” at the end.

Another spot highlights Tommy Hall who is considering a new location for his family-owned restaurant opened by his father. Banker Jennifer Schuchart tells Hall, “I know you’ll keep it special like your dad did,” and “Let’s find a way.”

The TV spots have appeared in U.S. southeast markets, including Nashville, Raleigh, Miami, Atlanta and Orlando. The ad campaign also has included paid social media, online video and CTV, or connected TV that streams video from the Internet to smart TVs and other devices.

“We know how important it is for First Horizon to establish trust within the communities the bank serves, and this campaign perfectly captures the bank’s dedication to helping its clients reach their financial goals,” Robley said.

In January 2022, Mindgruve began working with First Horizon Bank, a regional financial services company that operates in 12 southern states. Erin Pryor, First Horizon’s chief marketing officer, was previously a Mindgruve client when she worked at Opus Bank and United Capital Partners.

In addition to the ad campaign, Mindgruve recently redesigned the bank’s website with a refreshed color scheme, revamped user interface, mobile-first layout for smartphones and tablets and new tools for managing accounts, calculating loans or mortgages and providing financial planning resources.

“Our team worked to create a user-friendly and visually appealing digital experience that reflects the bank’s values and commitment to its customers,” said Robley. “We are proud to partner with First Horizon Bank and we look forward to continuing our partnership to help them achieve even greater success.”

InnoVision Extends Contracts with Valley View Casino, Palomar Health

San Diego-based InnoVision Marketing Group has announced it has signed extended contracts with two of its largest clients, including Valley View Casino & Hotel and Palomar Health.

The extensions include an additional three years with Valley View, InnoVision’s flagship client since the agency opened in 2012.

Additionally, Palomar Health, California’s largest healthcare district, has signed a five-year contract extension after a single year of work with InnoVision.

InnoVision describes itself as the “anti-agency,” a term it has trademarked. A statement said InnoVision differentiates itself by continuing to deliver sticky and strategy innovative marketing, impressive turnaround times without sacrificing quality, 24/7 client availability and a service philosophy modeled after the Ritz-Carlton.

InnoVision Marketing Group, headquartered in San Diego.

“The fact that these two powerhouses trust us to the degree they do speaks to the results we deliver and the anti-agency approach we take when we deliver them,” says Ric Militi, InnoVision’s CEO and executive creative director.

“Being able to extend our agency of record agreements with Valley View Casino and Hotel and Palomar Health for three and five years, respectively, is something that we will never take for granted. In fact, it motivates us to elevate the degree of performance on our part. It’s truly an honor to partner with each of them.”

“We are thrilled to be extending our agreement together for many years to come,” says Bruce Howard, general manager, Valley View Casino & Hotel. “InnoVision has continued to do an outstanding job as our exclusive partner for all of our marketing, advertising, media placement and communication.”

“In addition, Ric and his team also do all of our creative and design work, website design and press releases. I and everyone on our team could not be more proud to be aligned with such a first-class company with such a diverse, sophisticated list of clients.”

“One of the best decisions I have ever made was to hire InnoVision Marketing Group as my complete marketing and public relations team. So, extending our contract was a no-brainer for me,” says Diane Hansen, president/CEO of Palomar Health. “They are an amazing team with unparalleled talent. I am so thrilled and looking forward to working with them for many years to come.”

In addition to San Diego, InnoVision said it has clients in Seattle, Los Angeles, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Phoenix, Tampa and Orlando. Clients represent the casino, dining, jewelry, healthcare, lifestyle and nonprofit industries. InnoVision provides brand strategy development, creative design, media buying, video production, website development, social media management and digital marketing services through its five divisions, including film production, digital media, traditional media, public relations and Español.

Del Taco Names Carat as U.S. Media Agency of Record

Del Taco Restaurants, owned by San Diego-based Jack in the Box, has announced that Carat North America has been named its new media agency of record for the U.S.

A statement said Carat., a division of global marketing and advertising agency giant Dentsu International, will handle media buying and planning for Del Taco across video, audio, digital and social media channels. The Carat team also will focus on up-leveling the brand’s local market approach to drive even deeper efficiencies across media channels, the agency said.

“We are excited to announce our new relationship with Carat,” said Tim Hackbardt, Del Taco’s chief marketing officer. “We are confident that the agency network’s identity solution technology and QSR (quick-service-restaurant) expertise, combined with its strong understanding of local markets, will make Carat an ideal partner to elevate our media planning and buying approach to resonate with shifting consumer audiences and channels.” 

“We are honored to be working with the Del Taco team and excited to build on the restaurant group’s continual success,” said Michael Law, CEO of Carat North America. “Designing for people is at the heart of everything we do at Carat, together we will focus on accelerating Del Taco’s local media planning approach, optimizing and testing channels to best connect with their customers on a personal level to drive growth.”

In a first-quarter 2023 earnings call, Jack in the Box CEO Darin Harris said, “With our media partner Carat, we will optimize to our media spin and maximize our reach. We have set this in motion with Jack and soon we’ll start seeing similar benefit for Del Taco in the upcoming quarters.”

Carat also serves as the media agency of record for such brands as Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Mastercard, United and Pfizer. 

Del Taco, with about 600 restaurants in 16 states, is headquartered in Orange County’s Lake Forest. Carat has five U.S. offices, including Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit, with additional operations in more than 100 countries. Dentsu International is based in London.

In March 2022, Jack in the Box completed the acquisition of Del Taco Restaurants for $585 million. Del Taco is considered the second-largest Mexican QSR chain behind Taco Bell. Jack in the Box was founded in 1951, and Del Taco in 1964.

SD Direct Hosts Program on Google Analytics 4

SD Direct, a San Diego educational and networking group for digital and direct marketing professionals, will host a luncheon program on Google Analytics 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, at the Better Business Bureau offices, 4747 Viewridge Ave. Cost to attend is $40 per person.

Discussing Google Analytics 4 will be Gwen Beren, founder and CEO of Illuminous Marketing, a San Diego firm that offers content marketing and strategy, digital marketing, social media marketing, web development and brand design.

According to SD Direct, Google Analytics 4, launched in 2020, offers the flexibility to measure different kinds of data and generate leads by connecting online and offline customer engagement. It allows businesses a complete view of the customer lifecycle across multiple touch-points, including websites and apps, and helps improve return-on-investment with data-driven attribution and predictive new insights. It does not rely exclusively on cookies while using an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.

In addition, Google Analytics 4 features new data privacy protections — necessary in today’s international data privacy landscape — such as no longer storing IP addresses.

Google Analytics 4 replaces Google’s previous generations of analytics, including Universal Analytics, which will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023, and Universal Analytics 360, which will end processing on July 1, 2024.

Members of SD Direct, formerly called the San Diego Direct Marketing Association, include direct response marketers, small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.