Magazine article American Banker

ABA Planning Ad Campaign to Spruce Up Banks' Image

Magazine article American Banker

ABA Planning Ad Campaign to Spruce Up Banks' Image

Article excerpt

The American Bankers Association is planning a nationwide campaign to improve the banking industry's public image.

Still under development, the campaign is likely to include the industry's first national television advertising since the early 1980s-long before disintermediation by money market funds and other nonbank competitors reached its current pitch.

Banking's biggest trade group wants to remind Americans of its members' continued relevancy.

"We're not your granddad's bank anymore," said ABA president Walter A. Dods Jr. "We need to educate the consumer that banks do annuities, mutual funds, insurance, and securities."

ABA wants to "redefine what banking means" to the consumer, "rather than run away from the word 'bank,'" said Mr. Dods, chairman and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Inc., Honolulu.

"Bank is a powerful word," he said, noting many positive expressions include the word, such as "You can bank on it."

Although he was not specific about the cost of the program, which will include print and broadcast advertising and supporting materials for member banks, Mr. Dods said he expects it to run into millions of dollars.

An example of a similar campaign which Mr. Dods called "terrific" is one undertaken by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It has already spent $6.5 million on national advertising, using high-tech TV spots produced by Industrial Light and Magic, the studio associated with "Star Wars" director George Lucas.

The AICPA is in the second phase of a five-year program designed to change the way people think of accountants.

The banking industry's last venture into television advertising focused on the role banks play in their communities. Before that, commercial banks collectively projected the full-service bank image, suggesting that consumers could get all they needed unde r one roof. …

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