Thrift Seeks New Fans

McCann-Erickson’s Seattle office is breaking an estimated $10 million branding campaign today for longtime client Washington Mutual emphasizing the thrift institution’s commitment to customer service.
Three humorous TV spots depict customers wildly enthusing over the bank’s “consumer-friendly” services. In one 30-second execution, a tour bus driver snaking through a residential neighborhood points out the home of a Washington Mutual teller. As the bus slows down, passengers clamor to get a better view of the teller. Mowing his lawn, he waves and smiles at his audience. “Now my life is complete,” exclaims one elderly rider.
A second spot shows a cheerleading squad of suburbanites boasting about Washington Mutual’s services, including the free checking outside a branch office. The spots all end with a voiceover suggesting, “Let Washington Mutual make a fan out of you,” and the tagline, “Join the club.”
The TV spots will air in California, Florida and the Pacific Northwest. The campaign is the Seattle-based institution’s first single-brand effort since acquiring American Savings Bank and Great Western Bank. The effort follows a recent blitz of outdoor “greeting card” ads in California and Florida introducing the Washington Mutual name to the other banks’ customers [Adweek, March 9].
“We wanted people to become familiar with the name before Washington Mutual arrived,” said Jim Walker, the agency’s executive vice president and manager.
New print and radio ads supporting the branding work are slated to break next month, Walker said.