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(Mar. 26, 2001) -- Washington Mutual, a financial-services company with 2,000 offices nationwide, turned to film director Christopher Guest for its latest advertising campaign. Mr. Guest's films include cult classic "This is Spinal Tap" and the more recent "Best in Show."

The work, from McCann-Erickson, Seattle, broke last night during the Academy Awards broadcast in selected markets. The spot featured bank customers lining up to a teller who staples a bar code to their foreheads. The teller explains the bar code is part of that bank's "new customer I.D. tracking system" and sends each customer to a second window, where a teller runs each person's head over a scanner. The spots then pitch Washington Mutual's focus on customer service: "Try Washington Mutual. We're building our bank around you because we never forget that it's your money."

Washington Mutual is testing a new type of bank, designed in a circular pattern with greeters and sections where children can play while waiting for their parents and customers can find books and computer programs related to financial services.

Previously, the bank focused on a friendly teller campaign, including a spot featuring Regis Philbin, who's mobbed by fans who quickly leave him, running instead to get the autograph of a Washington Mutual loan officer.

The new campaign, tagged "More Human Interest," rolls out April 16 with three additional TV spots as well as radio, billboards and print in eight states. -- Alice Z. Cuneo

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