PNC effort highlights non-banking services

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PNC Financial Services Group will try to generate interest in its operations beyond banking with a new ad campaign breaking this week.

The new campaign, the first work for PNC from Arnold Communications, McLean, Va., will stress some of the company's non-banking businesses, such as investment management. The company is better known as the parent of PNC Bank, a regional bank with branches throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states; but it has other financial business units, including PNC Mortgage, VentureBank@PNC and investment managers PNC Advisors and Black Rock.

The advertising effort is part of an increased focus on marketing, which also will include improvements in the bank's online presence, said Denise Thorne Johnson, senior VP-chief marketing officer. A bigger commitment to advertising is important, both to attract customers and to impress financial analysts, who increasingly are zeroing in on the brand-building efforts of financial services companies, she said.

`THINKING BEHIND THE MONEY'

TV spots, tagged, "The thinking behind the money," break March 15 in spot markets, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York, said Richard L. Britton, the agency's president. TV will run on broadcast and cable networks in prime-time, news and sports programing. National print will support in publications such as Business Week, Forbes, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. One spot will be dedicated to corporate branding, and each of the other three will focus on one specific business: PNC Bank, PNC Advisors and PNC Mortgage, Mr. Britton said.

ONLINE STRATEGY

PNC also plans to use Web banner ads and will unveil a redesigned Internet portal next week at www.pnc.com. That site will consolidate PNC's 14 e-commerce sites under one address, with a uniform look to make it easier for consumers to navigate, Ms. Thorne Johnson said.

The new campaign tries to "get away from the imagery of a regional bank," Ms. Thorne Johnson said. "We're trying to take a problem someone has and what they're thinking . . . [and] relate that to the lives of our clients," she said.

The ads are Arnold's first work since it won PNC's $25 million account in October along with sibling agency Circle.com, Boston. Ironically, the win came on the same day FleetBoston Corp. announced a consolidation of its account that cut Arnold's Boston office from the bank's roster. Ms. Thorne Johnson had managed the Fleet Financial Group account at Arnold before joining PNC in 1998, after the merger of Fleet and BankBoston.

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