Why the Banking Industry Needs an Ad Campaign

ABA Banking Journal, November 1997 | Go to article overview

Why the Banking Industry Needs an Ad Campaign


Some say it's a bad rap. Bankers aren't the bad guys. It's just that the banking business is changing. And consumers haven't taken the time to understand us.

Others, however, say banking's reputation is earned. They point to ATM fees, big mergers, and what they see as pretty bad service. Bankers, they say, have forgotten the little guy.

Who is right? It may not matter. An industry's reputation is its reputation, whether earned or not. So what can you do? What's the next step ?

That's where ABA's advertising campaign comes in. Conceived as a campaign for banking, not banks, the TV, radio, and print campaign is focused on younger Americans (25-50), those who showed up in two recent ABA consumer research studies as people who aren't "highly satisfied" with their banks. They don't hate banks. But they don't much like them either. Or worse, they don't do business with them.

How do you reach this younger, more savvy group of consumers? With wit and humor, says ABA's ad agency, McCann-Erickson, San Francisco. Anything else and you risk losing credibility, they say. So ABA's new ad campaign uses wit and humor to poke a little fun at banker stereotypes while also making a very important point: There is value in banking today. Real value. For everyone.

The print ads for the new campaign are shown here, along with a portion of the agency mock-up for one of the two TV commercials.

Banks won't lose the all-important battle for the public's trust if they take action now. Advertising can't do it all, but it can help. Perhaps you'd like to run the ABA ads locally, and know of other bankers who would pitch in to help pay for the media placement. Bankers who want to get involved in the ad campaign should contact their state bankers association or the ABA. Walter Dods, ABA's outgoing president and a strong supporter of the ads, has proposed a formula for financing a national campaign. …

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