Expanded Bay Agency Vies for National Status

SAN FRANCISCO-After enduring nearly two years of internal restructuring and expansion, the San Francisco office of McCann-Erickson is positioning itself as a contender for national advertising accounts. Agency executives are hoping their investment in a new print and broadcast campaign for the American Bankers Association (ABA) will generate the exposure the McCann needs to earn more national business.
The ABA campaign, entitled “There’s nothing better than money in the bank,” was recently reviewed and approved by executives at the trade organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. The ABA is now contacting its member affiliates to see which states will pick up and pay for the campaign. The ABA has covered the campaign’s initial production costs.
“This could be a very big campaign for us,” said Dave Tutin, the executive vice president and executive creative director for McCann-Erickson here. “We know that the ABA’s Utah members are very interested in running the campaign, as are several other states.”
McCann-Erickson won the ABA account less than seven months ago. The ABA had been talking with small shops in the Washington, D.C., area, when McCann got word of the review. Tutin believes his agency’s long-standing success with the regional “It’s the cheese” campaign for California’s Milk Advisory Board is what convinced the ABA to take a chance on the West Coast shop.
The two initial spots for the ABA campaign are “Dweeby Gerald” and “Fuddy-Duddies.” In the first, the main character, Dweeby Gerald, is seen as a child, walking to his local bank with a piggy bank under his arm. Gerald, complete with suspenders and horn-rimmed glasses, is harassed by some local boys who slap a “Kick Me” sign on his back. He plods in, ignoring the offenders, and delivers his pennies, nickels and dimes to the bank teller. Later, viewers see a still four-eyed Gerald, now with a beautiful woman, sailing on a yacht named “Kick Me.”
“The ABA wants its members to regain the trust of people who are disgusted by the mud-slinging campaigns their banks have pursued,” said Tutin. “This campaign is designed to remind people of all the good things banks do for them.”