Frost Bank Gets More Roots Over Rates

DALLAS McGarrah/Jessee continues to promote Frost Bank’s Texas roots rather than its financial products in the latest campaign for the client breaking Monday.

“People select a bank based on who they trust, not a temporary interest rate, and these television spots have worked quite well in building that trust,” said shop partner Mark McGarrah. The strategy of promoting roots over rates is one the independent Austin, Texas-based agency has followed since first winning the account in 1997.

The four new 30-second spots, which break in Texas markets, are the first to be produced in two years. Ads created over the past six years have been running in that interim.

“Texans First” consists of a variety of bankers offering opinions about the best way to barbecue. One says, “You would start your fire out with a little oak to get the temperature going.” Others say, “I like mesquite. Mesquite is a Texas tree” and “Sauce is something that definitely adds flavor to the meat.” The dialogue ends with a banker saying, “Now what kind of peppers are we talking about?”

The onscreen words, “We’re Texans first and bankers second” then appear. The spot ends with the bank’s logo and tagline, “We’re from here.”

The remaining three spots follow the same theme. “Blessings” opens with a close-up shot of what appears to be the Texas state flag with its solitary star. The tag, “We’re from here” appears. As the camera zooms out, the flag appears not to have just one star, but 50. The second tag, “And from here” appears. The next shot shows the full American flag rippling in the wind. The spot finishes with the line, “Count your blessings.”

“Can’t Automate Texas” shows friendly Frost Bank tellers interacting with customers. Phrases like, “You can automate tellers” and “You can automate telephone banking” appear, followed by the closing tag, “But you can never automate Texas.”

“Mr. Walser” opens with yodeler Don Walser sitting on a stage playing a guitar and yodeling a version of the song, “If I Were a Rich Man.” The onscreen title, “Frost financial management services” appears as the man sings, “If I were a rich man, I’d yodel all day long.”

McGarrah said the San Antonio-based client deserves credit for taking an approach that diverges from the category’s product-oriented ads. “The first time they saw the first spot they were scared to run it,” McGarrah said. “We said this is the right thing for you. This is who you are and you shouldn’t be scared of that . . . They’re comfortable [now] and realize producing another over-produced commercial isn’t going to help them stand out.”

Campaign spending is undisclosed. The client spent $2 million on media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.