Bank of America and Cause related Marketing

bofa.jpgRecently I saw a Bank of America commercial that didn’t look like a commercial at all. The commercial looked like an advertisement promoting a new town image resulting from an urban renewal program. The commercial showed a city center with many historical buildings in various stages of renovation. The narrator started with a litany of facts regarding historical buildings and districts in the United States, and then followed by the numbers of buildings, historical sites this organization has been directly involved in preserving and renovating. In the closing moments the final statement was one related to the cost of renovation projects and at that moment the B of A logo comes on the screen. When the logo was at the center of the screen then the narrator mentions Bank of America as long time contributor to this organization contributing to the preservation of American heritage.

This commercial in my opinion was brilliant example of Social Marketing. The commercial aligned Bank of America with a organization preserving historical buildings and landmarks. It was obvious how Bank of America was contributing to the organization but less obvious was the benefit B of A was receiving. It was simple brand association that they received leading to the acquisition of new customers and maintaining loyalty of current bank members. The commercial clearly demonstrated Bank of America’s commitment to this particular social issue. This commercial undoubtedly has strong potential to improve the B of A brand image. Improved brand image will translate into increased revenues for B of A. I can’t see this campaign being anything less than a win, win situation for both parties

3 responses

  1. Yo Fred – excellent observation, but I don’t think it really counts as “social marketing” unless the bank were actively trying to rally money to support that specific issue, rather than just aligning itself with the issue as a way of showing how great the bank is.
    Even then, I’m not sure it would count by the classic definition. I think this is more about using social issues to promote a brand.

  2. Have to agree that your headline got it right (cause related marekting) and this is distinctly different from social marketing – it is not a question of nuance or emphasis. Social marketers look at ways to enable groups of people to change behvaiors for individual and social benefit. In the B of A ad (disclosure, I am a customer) there is clearly no link to any behaviors. If, as AMEX did in the seminal CRM program for refurbishing the Statue of Liberty, B of A had asked for donations to the other organization, it would STILL be CRM. The idea that it is brand-building is likely correct in my view. Now if B of A were offering to the renters and owners of these buildings support for improving their financial literacy and stability, saving on home insurance by offering low cost loans for home safety improvements, etc maybe then we’ve got a SM program started.

  3. I got this email the other day and I think the Marketing folks at B of A should be made aware of it! It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those of us that play by the rules.
    A conversation between a Customer and Bank of America
    (true story):
    Bank: This is the Bank of America, can I help you?
    Customer: Yes, I want to cancel my account. I don’t
    want to do business with you any longer.
    Bank: Why?
    Customer: You’re giving credit to illegal immigrants and I don’t think it’s right. I’m taking my business elsewhere.
    Bank: Well, Mr. Customer, we don’t want to see you do that, but we can’t stop you. I’ll help you close the account. What is your account number?
    Customer: (gives account number)
    Bank: For security purposes and for your protection, can you please give me the last four digits of your social security number?
    Customer: No.
    Bank: Mr. Customer, I need to verify your information, but in order to help you, I’ll need verification of who you are.
    Customer: Why should I give you my social security number? The reason I’m closing my account is that your bank is issuing credit cards to illegal
    immigrants who don’t have social security numbers.
    You are targeting that audience and want their business. Let’s say I’m an illegal immigrant and you’ve given me a credit card. I have a question about
    it and call for assistance. You wouldn’t be asking me for a Social Security number, would you?
    Bank: No sir, I wouldn’t.
    Customer: Why not?
    Bank: Because you would have pressed ‘2’ to speak in Spanish. We don’t ask for that information when calling in on the Spanish line.

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