At a time when many banks are retrenching their marketing plans, regional bank FirstBank looks to capture a share of younger consumers with a whimsical and humorous advertising campaign.
“We think when other banks are pulling back, we have a chance to stand out,” Brian Jensen, vice president of the Lakewood, Colo.-based bank, tells Marketing Daily.
The effort—which includes television, print, outdoor and Internet advertising—is intended to underscore the bank’s common-sense investment policies, with work that suggests its online banking is not only a pleasant experience, but also secure. One television spot opens with a man (Bill) lying on a grassy field playing with rabbits. When his friend—dressed in a suit of armor because he’s gaming online—asks what’s going on, Bill replies that he’s banking online. “Wow. It seems really nice,” his friend replies. “Do you smell cookies?” “Yep,” Bill says. “It always smells like that here.”
Another spot depicts a man in a suit ripping the shirt off a man dressed exactly like a FirstBank customer as a metaphor for the bank’s identity protection capabilities. Print and outdoor ads depict $20 dollar bills with the presidential images obscured. Another obscures all the text with asterisks to highlight the banks’ encryption capabilities.
The heavy emphasis on technological capabilities and online customer experience is important in reaching the younger demographic, Jensen says. The bank has invested heavily in creating its own online platform (rather than purchasing one from an outside developer), and about half of its customer base banks online, Jensen says.
“We’re trying to show something a little different,” he says. “And we’re trying to do that in a more unique way that’s a little more cutting-edge.”
The campaign also includes Internet advertising on sites such as Yahoo, Ask.com, and MySpace to attract local customers, Jensen says. Other ads show the bank’s mobile capabilities by making light poles look like the old pneumatic tubes once used at bank drive-through windows.
TDA Advertising and Design in Boulder, Colo. created the campaign. It’s the agency’s first work for the client.
FirstBank is targeting younger customers because they tend to have more “life-changing events”—such as getting a new job, getting married or moving out on one’s own, which is when most people open bank accounts, Jensen says. “If we can get you at a younger age, you’ll stick with us,” he says.