"The company made a very strategic decision looking at the [bank's] top three regions-Texas, Florida and California," said John Villanueva, Bank of America's multicultural brand and communications manager. "Instead of being part of the business in these regions, multicultural really is the business." The new effort, though, will include national as well as regional advertising and will break between now and June 10.
The multicultural outlay equals more than 20% of Bank of America's total measured media spending last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. However, $40 million is slated for marketing, not just advertising, and will be incremental to the bank's general market effort.
Rather than taking a single multicultural approach, the country's No. 3 bank developed significantly different messages for the Hispanic, Asian and African-American markets, based on customer research and close attention to cultural nuances.
`We Believe in you'
Spanish-language print and five commercials focus on helping Hispanics fulfill dreams, Mr. Villanueva said. Ads end with "We believe in you." Print ads feature individuals talking about what they believe in.
For Asians, the brand platform is "tangibly committed to the success and growth of all Americans" and ads end with "Our bank." Commercials shot in China, Korea, and Vietnam, the beginning of an immigrant's journey, are steeped in metaphors and nostalgia. One spot that flashes back to a boy teaching his younger brother to ride a bike in his homeland parallels with the helping hand today of Bank of America with a mortgage. To convey authenticity, the bike is the exact kind an Asian child would learn to ride, not an American kids' bicycle.
In contrast, one of the Hispanic spots opens on an exaggerated stack of mortgage-related paperwork the size of a house, and details how Bank of America can reduce it by 80%.
The ads will run in the appropriate Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese to target consumers who prefer to communicate in their native language. Mr. Villanueva estimated that the group represents 30% to 50% of his target market of Hispanics and Asian-Americans between ages 29 and 54.
mortgages and checking
For the African-American market, the brand platform is "helping African-Americans realize their financial destinies" and includes tips to simplify the financial process, such as "Start today" and, for mortgages, "Own it."
For each ethnic group, ads cover branding and two products: mortgages and checking accounts.
Bank of America works with Hispanic agency Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston; WPP Group-backed Kang & Lee Advertising, New York, and UniWorld, New York, for Asian and African-American ads, respectively.
Their work is very different from the total campaign, themed "embracing ingenuity" and handled by Bozell, New York, part of Interpublic Group of Cos. The bank's total measured ad budget was $167.4 million last year, according to CMR.
In addition to ads, the multicultural budget covers a "soup-to-nuts" range of activities from in-language brochures to sales and fulfillment, with bilingual staff for offices and phone lines, Mr. Villanueva said.