Bank of America's quiet CEO to star in new campaign

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Brian Moynihan is a low-key guy. But this weekend, the chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp. will take the rare step of speaking into a microphone to almost 20 million people.

American football fans tuning in to watch the Minnesota Vikings battle the Chicago Bears on Sunday night will see the CEO straighten his tie and make his way to his New York office in a 60-second TV ad that concludes: "I am Brian Moynihan, and I work for Bank of America."

It's part of a new, multi-year campaign that includes actor Matt Damon, film maker Ken Burns and fashion designer Tory Burch promoting their charity work with the bank on clean water, documentaries and women's entrepreneurship. The new push will run on TV, digital platforms, social media and print. Bank of America tapped Hill Holliday and Super Union for the effort.

"[Moynihan is] a quiet guy. This works pretty well with his personality," says Anne Finucane, the bank's vice chairman. "It's effective for the CEO to declare unequivocally that this is our commitment."

The campaign will run during the holiday season with the theme "The Power to Make a Difference," which highlights the stories of the company's long-standing partners and the impact they are making in addressing critical environmental and social issues.

Finucane leads the bank's environmental, social and governance initiatives, which deployed more than $50 billion in capital last year, mostly related to lending. Recent efforts include a $2.25 billion green bond for environmentally friendly debt, and investments in community-development financial institutions and a social-impact fund.

Over the holidays, the campaign will run with the theme "The Power to Make a Difference."

Commercials are set to air during broadcasts of "This Is Us" and "The Voice," which are watched by about 13 million and 11 million viewers, respectively, according to Nielsen ratings. They'll also appear during "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Moynihan speaks about empowering customers in his ad. That contrasts with Wells Fargo & Co.'s "Re-Established" campaign, which rolled out earlier this year as the bank sought to reassure the public that it's putting scandals in the past. Uber Technologies and Facebook also have unfurled commercials to rebuild consumer trust.

At Bank of America, "it's very unusual to use the CEO in an ad," Finucane said. "When you put yourself in an ad, you're going to get some detractors. So the thing is, you better be pretty sure of the value proposition."

--Bloomberg News, with contributions from Ad Age

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