Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Pulling at the Heartstrings

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Pulling at the Heartstrings

Article excerpt

Pulling at the heartstrings

Never underestimate the power of a cute puppy. The antics of a six-week-old golden retriever in a thrift executive's office have been the subject of a successful television campaign by County Savings Bank, Santa Barbara, Calif. The appeal continues even after more than two and a half years. Lucky pup. The television commercials' use of the frolicking puppy is, admittedly, a none-too-subtle tug at the heartstrings, and the narration goes for such obvious puns as "top dog investors."

The $1.25 billion thrift's commercials take full advantage of the puppy's playfulness. In various spots, the four-legged star is seen pulling the executive's silk pocket handkerchief with his teeth, sniffing the telephone and calendar on his desk, and pausing patiently as the executive begins paper training.

"These ads creates a warmth people usually don't find in financial ads," says Fred Gordon, senior vice-president and director of marketing.

Gordon adds the puppy's misadventures can be interpreted as something other than an exercise in cuteness.

"If you get subliminal, the puppy represents the customer," he says. "In the background of the commercials is someone--a County Savings employee--who is always there when the puppy needs help."

Gordon admits pleasant surprise to the campaign's longevity, and the results of a recent survey of 200 adults shows the puppy's popularity is nowhere near waning. …

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