After 72 years in business, Bank of Louisville (Ky.) is changing its image.

The lead bank of MidAmerica Bancorp is investing $3 million in an advertising campaign that tosses aside the bank's stodgy reputation and promotes Bank of Louisville as a contemporary, full-service bank.

The campaign-the company's most expensive to date-was created after focus groups said the bank seemed too old-fashioned. R.K. Guillaume, vice chairman and chief executive officer at $1.5 billion-asset MidAmerica, said Bank of Louisville also needed to shed its image as a retail-only institution.

"We are restyling to better reflect what we have to offer," he said.

A higher profile helps small banks keep in step with their big-bank competitors, said Brannon Cashion, director of the financial industry group at Addison Whitney, a Charlotte, N.C., marketing firm.

Mr. Cashion, who helps banks develop better corporate identities, said he encourages independent banks to launch advertising blitzes that go head to head with megabanks' campaigns.

"You need to say, 'We're the bank you've known for years,'" he said. "If you don't react, you'll get lost in the shuffle."

Bertram W. Klein, chairman of MidAmerica, said he expects Bank of Louisville's competitors-National City Corp., PNC Bank Corp., and Banc One Corp.-to take notice of the campaign.

"The out-of-state regional banking networks are vulnerable to a strong, well-implemented identity program by a truly local bank," he said.

Bank of Louisville has splashed its new slogan, "Always here," and its redesigned logo on billboards throughout the metropolitan area. New signs are going up at all of the branches, and some offices will have new landscaping and other cosmetic updates.

The campaign also includes television ads featuring the voice of actor Michael Gross, who played the father on the long-running sitcom "Family Ties." Mr. Gross speaks over a new recording of "Turn, Turn, Turn," the Pete Seeger song that was a 1960s hit for the Byrds, as 40-year-old images of neighborhoods, banks, and people are contrasted with photos of the bank's new, modern look.

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