Great Western Gets Hip

By Angela Dawson

LOS ANGELES–Amidst a takeover battle, Great Western Bank is shedding its Old West image for one that exudes a modern, self-confident attitude in a new $8-10 million campaign breaking this month.

The first campaign of Bozell Worldwide’s Costa Mesa, Calif., office since winning the account invites affluent, educated customers to bring ‘their entire banking relationship’ to Great Western, said marketing director Dennis Shirley.

‘We’ve shied away from the mass market strategy used by some of our competitors,’ he said. ‘We want to attract a clientele who will bring in substantial balances.’

The Chatsworth, Calif.-based savings and loan decided to ‘go full steam ahead’ with its campaign despite a contest between H.F. Ahmanson & Co. and Washington Mutual to control the S&L, Shirley said. ‘Whoever buys us can decide if they want to continue what we’ve started.’

The campaign touts the bank’s money market account as offering ‘about 2 percent more’ than most other major banks.’ Voiceover by comedian Denis Leary replaces spokesman Dennis Weaver’s onscreen presence. The new tag: ‘Hey, it’s your money.’

The ads show scenarios where 2 percent more makes a difference. In one spot, a balding man tries to comb over what’s left of his hair to no avail.’It has a specific retail message, but at the same time reinvents the brand,’ said the agency’s Harvey Hoffenberg.

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