Magazine article American Banker

U.S. Bancorp Using Celebrities' Name Changes to Promote Its Own

Magazine article American Banker

U.S. Bancorp Using Celebrities' Name Changes to Promote Its Own

Article excerpt

Using Marilyn Monroe, George Burns, and Babe Ruth to make the point, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is trying to convince its customers that changing a name is not so bad.

In television commercials, on billboards, and in print ads beginning to appear this week in 11 states, the former First Bank System is surrounding its new logo and name with pictures of the former Norma Jeane Baker, Nathan Birnbaum, and George Herman Ruth.

"When you change your name, people take notice," the ads say.

The advertising, scheduled to run through April, coincides with the renaming of 389 First Bank branches in 11 midwestern and western states. The banks bore the First Bank name in all but Colorado, where they had retained their Colorado National Bank moniker. Now all the branches- including those in Colorado-will be labeled U.S. Bank.

The company would not disclose the cost of the ad campaign.

First Bank bought Portland, Ore.-based U.S. Bancorp last August. U.S. Bancorp is a better brand name because it is less common and implies wider geographic reach, company officials said.

The new logo is an updated version of the old U.S. Bancorp's, which has been around for more than 20 years. It features new corporate colors, though: red, white, and blue.

The ads are a preview of a major campaign planned for this summer. Then the $71.3 billion-asset banking company will roll out its new brand in the rest of the 17 states where it has branches, said David Ingraham, a senior vice president in charge of customer equity management. …

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