Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

A Branding Slam Dunk by Hibernia National Bank. (Marketing News)

Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

A Branding Slam Dunk by Hibernia National Bank. (Marketing News)

Article excerpt

When NBA basketball returned to New Orleans Last year after a 23-year hiatus, Hibernia National Bank, a $17-billion-asset regional bank, decided to become one of the sponsors of the new team, the New Orleans Hornets.

The partnership included the opportunity for the bank to brand one entire quadrant of the New Orleans Arena, home of the Hornets. The arena branding was one of the most challenging parts of the sponsorship campaign, according to Van Gallinghouse, president of Keating Magree Advertising and Public Relations, the agency selected to handle the job. "We quickly recognized that 'in-your-face' messaging wouldn't be effective. We were careful to position Hibernia as a partner with the Hornets and jumped into the fun and excitement that professional sports are known for."

The sponsorship included branding of three levels of the arena, each with separate core target audiences. The agency took a unique approach, analyzing each level in terms of the fan population and its primary interests.

For example, ground-level traffic consists primarily of fans who have paid higher per-seat prices, including club seating. A dramatic three-story cityscape highlights the connection between Hibernia, the community and NBA basketball. A silhouetted street basketball player in a mid-air stride commands the foreground, while the well-recognized tower atop the bank's downtown headquarters is highlighted in the background. Says Gallinghouse, "It was important to start off with a strong statement as to why Hibernia became a partner. …

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