Despite country's financial crisis Russian bank advertises

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MOSCOW--Russia's Alfa Bank has launched a $750,000 advertising campaign to attract new clients, with work being done by ad agencies Premiere SV, Video International and Euro Press Group.

When the financial crisis hit August 17, many depositors lost their savings after some Russian banks ceased operations and froze deposits.

Although Russian consumers are generally wary of the banking system and prefer to keep their savings at home, Alfa Bank Press Secretary Andrei Nasonovsky is upbeat on the campaign's prospects. Alfa Bank has experienced and survived the crisis, he says. "We are hoping ... that the opinion of the bank as a place where you can keep your savings will be strengthened."

"In the time after [and during] the crisis, when other banks stopped their work, many corporate and private clients came to us," Mr. Nasonovsky says. More than 3,000 consumer and corporate accounts have opened since August.

A 30-second spot advertising the Moscow based bank began appearing on NTV television at the beginning of November. The Alfa Bank clip will also air on central television stations ORT and RTR toward the end of November.

Alfa Bank is also using print for its ad campaign, including a fullpage, English language ad that appeared in the November 10 issue of The Moscow Times. The ad is aimed at financial directors and promotes such services as payroll and highlights the fact that a number of Western companies are clients.

Alfa Bank's ad campaign will run to the end of the year and will be followed with a new campaign in early 1999.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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