Washington Mutual Greets California, Florida Markets

Washington Mutual, which recently acquired Great Western Bank and American Savings, is breaking the ice in its new California and Florida markets with an outdoor, print and radio campaign from McCann-Erickson’s Seattle office.
The estimated $3 million effort introduces the Seattle-based financial institution to the new markets, including Great Western and American Savings customers. Starting in April, all those banks’ locations will be converted to Washington Mutual.
“Hello, Los Angeles! We’re Washington Mutual and we’ve brought gifts,” reads one print ad, offering free services such as checking and use of a teller. The outdoor ads are purely introductory, featuring such copy as, “Hi, nice to meet you. We like puppies, romantic comedies and Thai food. And you?”
“This is our greeting card version of advertising,” said Jim Walker, the agency’s executive vice president and managing/creative director. “We’re letting California and Florida [customers] know Washington Mutual is coming soon, so when they see the name going up, they’ll already be familiar with it.”
McCann-Erickson has handled the Washington Mutual account since 1991. In that time, the bank has expanded into Oregon, Utah, Montana and Idaho. With American Savings’ mortgage services available in 23 states, Walker said he expects the account to continue to grow.
Bozell Worldwide in Costa Mesa, Calif., is completing work on the Great Western account, which it won last year.