Millionaire pig brings notoriety to Peruvian bank

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LIMA -- Peru's Interbank is putting the piggy back into banking - literally.

The central figure in the bank's new "Millionaire Account" campaign, aimed at attracting new depositors and maintaining old ones in Peru's new open-market economy, is a two-meter pink pig.

The Interbank pig can be seen on television and billboards and heard on the radio promoting what Robert M.Zweig, manager of the personal banking division, calls "the most innovative and complete service for depositors."

Marketing Director Pedro Sotillo says the pig was chosen because the bank was looking for a symbol with which customers could identify rapidly and which had meaning in the banking world. He says that the bank, along with advertising agency Pragma DMB&B, decided on the piggy bank because it is the universal symbol of saving.

"The campaign has been hugely successful. People young and old easily identify our 'millionaire pig'," Sotillo says.

The campaign also includes incentives for customers. The bank has streamlined its deposit and withdrawal process making accounts more accessible, its interest rate on savings accounts is 6% - the highest in the market - and it is running competitions for which the prizes are 48 cars and 1m new soles, or $380,000, from which the millionaire campaign gets its name.

Sotillo says that the difference between Interbank's campaign and those of other bank's is a combination of services and prizes.

"Other banks run promotional campaigns with prizes for a few months or offer preferential rates, but we decided to combine different elements that reflect our philosophy that the customer comes first," he says. "There is nothing like it in the Peruvian market."

Interbank, Peru's fourth largest financial institution, has been undergoing a process of change since it was privatized two years ago. It changed its name and logo and has attracted important international backers, including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady. Former U.S. President George Bush was in Peru several months ago to lay the cornerstone of bank's new headquarters.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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