ATLANTA-A humorous creative approach helped Lewis Advertising in Birmingham, Ala., land the hometown account of New South Federal Savings Bank after a review.
The client received credentials from about 15 local shops, said Cindy Sproull, director of public relations and marketing at New South. The final round came down to Lewis and two incumbent agencies: Hodges & Associates, which handled strategic consulting, and Gillis Advertising & Public Relations, which did creative work for the bank's deposit division.
While Lewis' strategic plan and its database marketing division factored into New South's decision, the winning element was creative.
"[Lewis'] concepts were strategically on target," Sproull said. "They were sensitive to the whole issue of the lack of identity for the bank in this marketplace. They looked at that with a sense of humor."
Neither Sproull nor Lewis president Larry Norris would offer details on the campaign, which will likely break in the Birmingham market by April. Components of the effort have yet to be decided upon, although "we have pitched them a total campaign" including TV and print, Norris said.
Sources estimated the budget at $1 million. Sproull would only say that last year's ad budget, used toward a local campaign promoting certificates of deposit, was $250,000. "It's going to go up," she added.
With total assets of close to $1 billion, New South operates two depository branches in Birmingham and 46 loan production offices in 13 states. Its deposit customers reside in all 50 states. "We're not you're typical commercial bank," Sproull said. "Our customers are segmented into very specific niche target groups."
Lewis will use direct mail to reach retirees, the primary savings clients, and builders and realtors for lending.
The win is the second in recent weeks for Lewis, which added Rock City Gardens' account last month.