Rooting for the hometown team is a refuge from everyday woes and a source of civic pride. In 2005, New Orleans-based First Bank and Trust, knowing the city faced an intense period of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina that would need to tap large measures of that civic pride, became the official banking partner of the New Orleans Saints football team; that relationship has been so successful that it struck a new deal this year that focuses on the team's head coach, Sean Payton.
The bank's marketing director Kelly Fogarty, says: "After three years we were looking for a way to put another face on [the partnership with the Saints]. We wanted to have a spokesperson who is affiliated with the team, but who would also resonate with our client base. Intuitively you wanted to say, ‘What player is best for that?' But in the end, because we're a commercial bank, we were really saying, ‘Well, who's the CEO of the Saints?' It ended up being the head coach."