WaMu Wants Customers Yelling ‘Whoo Hoo!’

NEW YORK As fears about a domestic recession rise, Washington Mutual is looking to court consumers with positive, emotional messaging.

Its new “Whoo hoo!” campaign, from TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., seeks to convey the positive emotional appeal of banking with Washington Mutual.

In one spot, an African-American woman, upon hearing that her WaMu free checking account comes with free checks for life, slips into a reverie in which she wins a disco dance contest and is hoisted overhead by her much-skinnier male counterpart. The “We don’t nickel and dime you” tagline is meant to drive home its consumer-friendly message.

“We want to become an iconic brand that people love,” said WaMu CMO Genevieve Smith, in a statement. “Through ongoing brand tracking, we know we always outperform our peers when it comes to being emotionally relevant to people. [The new campaign] gives us a unique opportunity to talk about who we are.”

English-language ads will appear on TV and radio and in print, out-of-home, online and in-store. The campaign also includes Spanish- and Chinese-language executions, from Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., and IW Group, Los Angeles, respectively.

“The campaign creative taps into that [“Whoo hoo!”] experience and the enthusiasm of WaMu’s employees,” said Rob Schwartz, executive creative director, TBWA\Chiat\Day, in a statement.

Campaign spending was not revealed. For the first 11 months of 2007, WaMu spent $105 million in measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.