Thursday, June 15, 2006

TD Banknorth No ATM Fee Card

Brandweek, Constantine von Hoffman, 15 June 2006

TD Banknorth continued the roll out of its “Bank Freely” campaign this week with efforts in Connecticut and the mid-Atlantic states. The campaign is built around the bank’s promise to re-pay any and all ATM fees charged by other banks to customers using the new No ATM Fees Visa debit card.

Thomas J. Dyck, evp and director of marketing, said the new product is part of an effort to make the bank, which is headquartered in Portland, Maine and operates throughout the Northeast, more convenient for its customers to use.

“We knew we needed to expand our ATM network and we knew that that would take time,” said Dyck. “So we felt this was the best way to give our customers this convenience while expanding the network.”

The campaign is by The VIA Group, Portland, Maine. The print efforts will run in regional editions of 40 magazines from Forbes to Parenting to Cosmo and in more than 30 major daily papers throughout the area. The TV spots will run in prime time during CSI, Lost, 60 Minutes as well as during major sports events and local news.

In addition to print and broadcast, the campaign uses guerilla marketing materials, like coffee and popcorn cup holders, newspaper belly-bands, door hangers and mock up newspapers, distributed by "free agents" riding in customized Honda Elements. The campaign will center around Connecticut and the mid-Atlantic states, where the bank recently acquired 200 new branches.

“There is just so much marketing clutter for financial services in these markets that we thought this would be the best way to break through that,” said Dyck. “Banking is a local business and we think this emphasizes how people can find us in their neighborhood.”

Dyck also believes that actually providing the customers with something for free is another way to break through the marketing clutter. The bank’s new branches in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania has made it a much bigger player in these highly competitive markets. They researched what would make them standout to consumers and came up with the Bank Freely positioning, as well as the No ATM Fees card offer, Dyck said.

“Consumers just don’t believe it when banks use the word free,” said Dyck. “They expect to be hit with minimum balance requirements and the like. So if we wanted to make an impression it was essential that when we said free, we meant it.”