Key seeks wide appeal

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Key Corp. breaks a new corporate-branding effort this week to position the bank company as a multipurpose financial player.

The campaign, tagged "Achieve Anything" will include TV, print, radio, direct mail and online advertising. It's the second push for the brand from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, which won the account in 1999 after Key ended its two-year relationship with WPP Group's Lord Group, New York. Lord previously had focused on launching the Key brand, formed after the merger of Key Bank and Society National Bank in 1995.

"This year's job is truly to bring to life a brand position," said George Halvorson, exec VP-deputy creative officer of Campbell Mithun. The agency's approach in 2000 concentrated on Key's retirement solutions for individuals and businesses, but this year's creative is more focused on positioning the bank as a one-stop financial-services shop, said Mr. Halvorson.

The initial TV spot, which breaks today, shows a little girl stargazing with her father, then shows her grow up to be an astronomer; a later spot aimed at institutional clients shows how a small business can grow into a large company.

"What we're trying to do with our brand is show our breadth of capabilities," said Karen Haefling, exec VP-chief marketing officer. Key, with $85 billion in assets, is known as a "super-regional" banking company; its subsidiaries include Key Bank and broker McDonald Investments.

Key wouldn't disclose spending on the effort but said it would increase its outlay. According to Competitive Media Reporting, Key spent $12 million in measured media in 1999 and $11 million for the first nine months of 2000.

The media buy for the campaign will combine both spot network TV and national cable buys as well as national and regional business publications.

"We have a need to expand the brand on a national basis," said Ms. Haefling. While the company's consumer-banking activities are regional in nature, other operations, such as investment management and its key.com Web site, are national.

Key is facing a fight for market share against other super-regional banks formed via mergers and acquisitions during the late 1990s. The market is now dominated by large players, such as the combinations of BankAmerica and NationsBank into Bank of America, BankBoston and Fleet Bank into FleetBoston and Wells Fargo & Co. and Norwest.

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