The University of Michigan ultimately lost in the recent NCAA basketball tournament, but not for lack of cheerleading from its local bank.
When the University of Michigan's basketball team advanced to the Final Four, Bank of Ann Arbor showed its support by changing the colors of its billboards from its usual apple green to the school colors of maize and blue. The $891 million-asset bank also put messages of support on those billboards during Michigan's run, which ended in an 82-76 loss to the University of Louisville in the championship game.
One billboard played on the name of the school's head coach, John Beilein, by exclaiming, "UnBeileinable!" Another listed "68 32 16 8 4 2 1" — the number of teams left at various stages of the tournament — and crossed out the relevant number after each Michigan win.
Bank of Ann Arbor also promoted its team spirit on Facebook, Twitter and with online ads. Bank employees showed their support by adding images of the billboards to their email signatures.
The bank "jumped" at the campaign when Perich Advertising and Design approached it with the idea, Tim Marshall, president and chief executive of the bank, said in a news release.
The company, which is headquartered in the same city as the university, has run unique advertising campaigns in the past. One used inside jokes to imply that other banks lacked knowledge of the community.
Even though the Wolverines came up short, Bank of Ann Arbor, a unit of Arbor Bancorp, was still able to score big with its efforts. Posts of its billboards on Facebook received more than 1,100 interactions from roughly 29,300 unique users, the bank said.
"The response from our community has been tremendous and the circulation of pictures of the billboards via social media and email was off the charts," Marshall said in the release. "I've received numerous emails and phone calls thanking us for the support. We even had a Michigan basketball player call to thank us."