KEYCORP PUTS NEW TAG TO TEST IN NORTHWEST: FULL 14-STATE REGION MAY SEE ADS NEXT YEAR

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KeyCorp is planning to introduce a new tagline-or several-in 1998.

The bank marketer has broken print ads in Pacific Northwest markets that feature the tag "End the confusion," replacing the current "Key for a new America."

Depending on how the "End" tag tests, Key may extend it to all markets in its 14-state region next year, said Stephen A. Cone, chief marketing officer for Key and a former executive at American Express Co. The bank also might use multiple tags, he said.

TRANSITIONAL EFFORT

Whatever its decision, Key-which spent $11.3 million in the first half of this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting-is trying to advance a branding effort that started three years ago. "Key for a new America" was meant as a transitional tag to highlight the bank after its creation through the merger of Key and Society Bank, Mr. Cone said.

OFFERING ANSWERS

Now the goal is to enhance the brand. The "End the confusion" tag positions Key as a one-stop shop for financial services.

"Consumers are overwhelmed by choices," Mr. Cone said. "Our point is to end the confusion by coming to Key."

The Northwest market ads are part of a campaign for a new money market account. Ads for the product in other markets will feature the current tag.

The print ads are the first work for Key from Lord Group, a unit of Young & Rubicam, New York. Y&R Advertising had been handling Key, but transferred the account to its sister shop after it won Citicorp as a client.

Since Key jumped in the brand-building fray, other banks have followed suit, including First Union Corp., Banc One Corp. and, most recently, BankAmerica

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