Extending Your TV Reach: With a Limited Broadcast Budget, Premier Bank in West Virginia Boosts Viewership of Ads by Using 15-Second 'Bookend' Spots

By Albro, Walt | ABA Bank Marketing, June 2015 | Go to article overview

Extending Your TV Reach: With a Limited Broadcast Budget, Premier Bank in West Virginia Boosts Viewership of Ads by Using 15-Second 'Bookend' Spots


Albro, Walt, ABA Bank Marketing


MOST COMMUNITY BANKS do not advertise much on broadcast television. It's too expensive. Banks that do are constantly experimenting with ways to use the medium more cost-effectively.

Premier Bank in Huntington, W.Va., is an example of a bank that spends about one-third of its advertising budget on broadcast TV. Recently, the bank, which has assets of $900 million, has been testing 15-second "bookend" spots as a way to get "more bang for the buck" with TV advertising.

A bookend TV ad is one that appears at the start of a commercial break, followed by a second that pops up about 90 seconds later, at break's end.

With bookend ads, the bank pays for a 30-second spot but, because it is divided into two 15-second segments, the ad has greater impact on the viewer--making the message easier for the consumer to recall.

"The beauty of it is that you create an impression in the mind that the bank is on TV a lot more than it actually is," says Leland S. Steele, marketing manager.

Bookend ads demonstrate how Premier looks for ways to get the most leverage out of broadcast ads--despite the fact that the bank does not have a large TV budget, says Steele, who has a background with a small advertising agency.

Consolidated under one name

Premier Bank is an affiliate of Premier Financial Bank Corp., which, until four years ago, had two affiliates. The other affiliate was Citizens Deposit Bank in Kentucky. These two banks operated with separate identities in five geographic divisions. In 2011, the holding company decided to give the Premier Bank name to all of the banks in each division. Each division has its own president.

In some areas, people were familiar with the old name but not with the new one. As a result, when Steele came to the bank in 2012, one of the first things he tried to do was a campaign to get people acquainted with the new name.

Today, the bank has 24 locations, 19 in West Virginia, three in the District of Columbia, two in Virginia and one in Maryland. Many of the West Virginia locations are widely scattered small towns.

In the past, the bank did a lot of print advertising in local weekly newspapers. But of late, millennials are not spending as much time with print media. To reach them, the bank has been shifting to digital advertising. The bank still targets consumers over age 35 in print media, but in recent years it has cut back even for this cohort.

With the many separate small-town markets, Steele concluded that a cost-effective way of reaching these audiences was through broadcast television. Today, most West Virginians view broadcast TV through a cable or satellite dish channel.

When Steele needed to introduce the new bank name, he turned to a dominant broadcast station for much of the bank's footprint: NBC affiliate WSAZ-TV in Huntington.

Steele started with 30-second spots reminding viewers that the bank's name had changed but that its brand remained the same. It was still the same neighborhood bank where loan decisions are made locally--and where the technology is the same as that available through larger banks. Premier emphasized its local character by focusing on its involvement with community charitable activities.

After a while, Steele found that using 15-second bookend ads as a follow-up to 30-second ads was effective at reinforcing the message and building frequency.

Last winter, the bank launched a business banking testimonial TV ad campaign during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Premier produced 30-second versions featuring three business customers. …

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