financial services

Bank Of America To College Kids: Meet Morris

Morris on CampusBank of America is looking to attract college students--many of whom may be opening their first bank accounts--by speaking to them on their level via a character who provides advice in a series of online vignettes.

The effort, "Morris on Campus. Life According to an Upperclassman," depicts a savvy college student offering advice on how to manage college life--particularly when it comes to finances. The webisodes, which went live Wednesday, feature Morris talking directly to the camera as if on a talk show. One of the episodes features Morris on spring break, where some of his words and actions are censored, while another shows how quickly students can bank online, allowing them to get to class on time.

"We think it speaks to them using a character they can relate to," Bank of America representative Diane Wagner tells Marketing Daily.



The site also includes tips about managing finances (such as: missing payments on credit cards costs you money) and the solutions that Bank of America offers (i.e., automatic bill pay), as well as dorm life, food consumption and classes. In addition, the bank provides resources like a Student Financial Handbook and a Bank of America ATM locator.

According to a survey conducted by Bank of America, 91% of college students feel they are prepared to manage their finances in the upcoming semester, and 78% of them consider themselves either "knowledgeable" or "very knowledgeable" about saving. However, that same research revealed that 40% of students had overdrawn their checking accounts and only 30% were aware of online banking.

The Morris on Campus site will be promoted through online banner ads, in-store marketing materials and collateral on ATMs, Wagner says. The company opted for online and point-of-sale promotions to catch students where they live, she says.

In addition, the Charlotte, N.C. bank has partnered with Farnoosh Torabi, a senior correspondent for and author of You're So Money, to search for the "Be Money on Campus" student who can provide the best financial tips when it comes to college life, with the winner receiving $25,000.

"Learning how to develop a healthy relationship with money while you're young is key," Torabi said in a statement. "With the BMOC contest, Bank of America and I hope to inspire students to feel more informed and in control of their finances."

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