It Took 5,000 Pounds of Gingerbread to Make This Functioning Bank Branch

Deutsch built it for PNC

Last weekend, Penn's Landing in Philadelphia had a new structure, a 12-foot-tall PNC Bank branch made out of 5,000 pounds of gingerbread. Why? The bank's agency, Deutsch, wanted to get consumers excited about PNC's annual Christmas Price Index, which prices out each gift from "The Twelve Days of Christmas." 

"The Christmas Price Index was created to make learning about the economy a bit more fun," said Jeremy Bernstein, evp and group creative director at Deutsch. "For this to happen, though, we needed to grab people's attention. We are so inundated with holiday messages this time of year, we knew we needed to do something attention-getting and hard to ignore." 

A functioning bank branch made out of inedible gingerbread (it had to be treated for durability and weatherproofing) that provided actual banking services—customers could use the ATM (17 percent of the 5,465 visitors did) or open a new account (visitors did)—certainly fit the bill. 

Deutsch partnered with Design Compendium and Bredenbeck's Bakery in Philadelphia to create the gingerbread bank, which was in development for six months and took four days to build. The walls, ceiling and floor, as well as many of the interior and exterior components of the structure, were preassembled in Brooklyn.

"We felt strongly that the branch read as bank, not a gingerbread house," said Bernstein. "Our design team geeked out on a ton of architectural and design references and honed in on an Art Deco style. Today's banks are mostly boring boxes, so they looked at great banks from earlier eras like the Williamsburgh Savings Bank in Brooklyn. They also drew inspiration from other great Art Deco buildings like the MetLife Building, Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building." 

Deutsch also created custom illustrations of each of the 12 gifts from the Christmas carol for the gingerbread branch's 12 columns. 


Client: PNC Financial Services Group, Pittsburgh
Contact: Dorsey Tobias
Chief Creative Officer: Kerry Keenan
Group Creative Director: Jeremy Bernstein
Senior Art Director: Alex Avis
Senior Copywriter: Justin Lee
Interactive Design Director: Aliza Adam
Associate Design Director: Brian Gartside
Design Director: Juan Carlos Pagan
Designer, Illustrator: Lynne Yun
Interactive Designer: Alex Miller
Integrated Production Director: Joe Calabrese
Art, Experiential Production Director: Sarah Manna
Digital Production Director: Suzanne Molinaro
Integrated Producer: Josh Deitel
Senior Print Producer: Jeanette Luis
Technology Director: Kamran Aslam
Associate Technology Director: Michael Nicosia
Developers: Jeff Denton, Ryan Moylan
Lead Motion Designer: Matt Severin
Lead Experience Architect: Dan Machlin
UX Designer: Priscilla Osredkar
QA Engineer: Charles Hailey
Project Management Director: Clara Kim
Senior Social Strategist: Jessica Yin
Social Content Manager: Gurbani Chadha
Social Copywriter: Cristina Diaz Borda
Social Project Manager: Katie Casares
Event Production: TH Productions, New York
Design Development, Fabrication: Design Compendium, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bakery: Bredenbeck's, Philadelphia
Film Production: Steelhead, New York
Director: Jeff Morgan
Director of Photography: Pete Slife
Editors:  Erik Emond, Pete Slife, Aaron Schiller
Photographer: Jeremiah Wilson
Shoot Location: Brooklyn, Penn's Landing, Philadelphia
Additional Deutsch Credits:
Group Account Director: Barbara Chandler
Account Director: Bennet Kim
Account Supervisor: Trisha O'Connor
Account Executive: Emily Maier
Integrated Business Affairs: Jaymie Lipman