financial services

FirstBank: 'Restore Your Faith In Free'

A campaign for FirstBank ackfirstbanknowledges customers' distrust of “free.”

In addition to traditional media, the Lakewood, Col.-based bank is employing a suite of free giveaways. The ad/event marketing campaign is by TDA_Boulder.

The effort includes four TV spots (one 30-second and three 15-second). They show big-ticket housewares (couch, flat-screen, vacuum cleaner) left out on the street, marked “free.” Passersby poke, prod, frown at and pass up the goods. The voiceover asks: “Have you ever noticed how skeptical people are of ‘free’? As if the word ‘free’ automatically means something must be wrong? Well, what if ‘free’ really just meant free?” As the spots close, supered text reads: “Restore your faith in free,” and a voiceover concludes: “Get mobile banking, alerts, and great customer service. And get it free.”



Additional support advertising, headlined “Free Happens” and running online and in OOHand print, shows people looking drop-jaw stunned. It’s signed off: “Free checking, still at FirstBank.”

Where the free actually happens is in five surprise giveaways, including: 500 callers-in to Anthony’s Pizza will get their pies delivered, no-charge, in FirstBank branded boxes labeled “Enjoy this free sample of free.”

Earlier, Steuben’s and Mestizos food trucks handed 1,500 unexpecting walk-ups a free meal, alongside signage that explained: “There is such a thing as a free lunch.”

During a recent Colorado Rockies home stand, five branded pedicabs -- drivers in “Free Happens” t-shirts -- gave free rides to and from the game. August’s two outdoor free movie nights at Denver’s Infinity Park kick off with an announcer appearing first onscreen, then live onstage, to give away a free Kindle Fire HD.

And ongoing through December, travelers at Denver International Airport can take advantage of FirstBank’s “Free Happens” recharging stations.

“We offer Free Checking and wanted to come up with an engaging way to let people know,” said Brian Jensen, vp of marketing, FirstBank. “The audience gets an unexpected perk from FirstBank. We think it will make us more memorable the next time they consider switching their banking relationship.”

The campaign targets a broad, young (18-34) audience, mirroring free checking’s greatest appeal. It is running in Colorado, plus some TimeWarner cable in Arizona and California.

“We continue to target the same group of 18- to-35-year-olds who utilize new technology and have an active lifestyle,” Jensen tells Marketing Daily. “They are finishing school and now starting their professional lives and learning how to manage their money. We want to be there to help them with our superior customer service and unique product offerings.”

TV runs on broadcast and 23 cable channels such as ESPN, MTV, AMC. Digital appears on video and audio sites including YouTube, Hulu, Tremor, Pandora, Spotify. The OOH is on urban and highway billboards and airport panels. Print appears in alternative Colorado monthlies. Ads run until late September.

FirstBank is a division of FirstBank Holding Company, Lakewood, Colo., privately held and majority owned by its management and employees. It is Colorado’s largest locally owned bank, with additional locations in California and Arizona.

1 comment about "FirstBank: 'Restore Your Faith In Free' ".
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  1. Douglas Foster from NovaLex Consulting, August 12, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.

    As a former CMO for a fortune-100 sized retailer, I can truly say few agencies display this kind of relevant creativity.

    This campaign in what would best be called "Lifestyle Marketing', integrates the brand into the lives of the customer; not the other way around.

    Best of all, surprising the customer (with "free"), is the ultimate motivating communication. I'm sure the dollar value of the PR from this hugely eclipses the cost of the marketing.

    Compliments are 'free', oftentimes too much so, but not in this case.

    Doug Foster | NovaLex Consulting

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