BANK OF AMERICA CAMPAIGN AIMS FOR ASIAN-AMERICANS ADS IN SEVERAL LANGUAGES TARGET LUCRATIVE NICHE

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Bank of America is trying to raise its profile in California's Asian-American community with a new TV ad campaign.

The U.S.' third-largest bank is running three commercials that air in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese on 12 Asian-language stations in the state.

With its first TV brand awareness campaign aimed at the market, the bank is trying to court what is seen as a growing and profitable niche. Asian-Americans already represent 11% of new accounts at Bank of America.

Charles Wendel, president of Financial Institutions Consulting, said the campaign fits a trend by banks of selectively targeting certain customer niches, such as ethnic groups or small businesses.

"This type of very targeted ad campaign is going to become more and more common as banks further segment their customer bases," Mr. Wendel said.

The ads were created by K&L West, Los Angeles, a unit of Kang & Lee, New York.

Bank of America recently selected Deutsch, New York, as primary agency for its $60 million account, and Deutsch now is doing focus group testing of creative for a new general branding campaign.

Budget for the Asian-American effort was not disclosed.

TOUTING DIFFERENT PRODUCTS

The K&L ads tout different products and services Bank of America offers Asian-Americans, such as small-business accounts and an Asian-language customer phone service. The ads also feature multigenerational families. "The Asian market is composed not just of the typical nuclear family," said Eliot Kang, CEO of Kang & Lee.

Bank of America is trying to create a brand image in a market rife with competition. Wells Fargo & Co. has directed TV advertising at Asian-Americans,

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