There are some cardinal rules when using public transportation, and right at the top of that list is not making eye contact with another rider. That's one reason public transportation is such a good place for an ad campaign. Those commuters' eyes have to land somewhere, and thus the chance to grab their attention, searing a company's brand into their heads.

Those who work and live in New York City and take public transportation have no doubt seen Capital One Bank's new advertising blitz; it's hard to miss. In subway stations and on trains, in yellow cabs, ferry boats, buses and at bus stops, Capital One's "pushpin" and "marathon" campaigns are literally all over NYC. "Our intent is to be seen everywhere in the New York-New Jersey area," says Capital One spokesperson Diana Don.

The campaign doesn't stop with billboards, either. They're also splattered on television screens, radio stations, print pages and Web pages. Capital One partnered with Atlanta-based advertising firm BBDO to create the ad campaign. The TV spots are being aired on high-profile programs, such as "popular season finales and sports playoffs and finals," Don says. The radio ads are broadcast during rush-hour drive times. The campaign will run throughout the summer.

What the Richmond, VA-based bank is selling is convenience, says Eva LaMere, evp of Austin & Williams, an advertising firm based out of Hauppauge, Long Island. "The number one reason a consumer will choose a bank is based on convenience," she says. "This campaign is very much about convenience. They're competing with Chase in that regard, that's kind of been Chase's premise. So they're really pushing the idea that there are ATMs everywhere and branches everywhere."

Capital One's acquisition of North Fork Bank was finalized in March and now CapOne is letting everyone know about North Fork's new brand and CapOne's addition of 700 branches and 1,100 ATMs in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, as well as in Virginia, Texas and Louisiana.

"We know that great brands aren't built overnight," Don says, but "we now have one of the most recognized brands in the financial services industry with 99-percent awareness...We know that consumers value time and money when banking, that's why we're focusing on the fact that we have numerous convenient locations throughout the New York-metropolitan area."

Capital One, which has $32 billion in total assets, declined to release the cost of the campaign, but to wallpaper the Big Apple with ads requires significant dollars. "They are clearly spending money; they are all over the place. They're everywhere you look," LaMere says. "If you can spend it in that kind of a domination way, it's effective. It dovetails, they're everywhere in their advertising and they're trying to emphasize they are everywhere with their branches."

The standout TV spot of the campaign shows two males in their late 20s sitting in a cafe in the city. One asks the other, who has a laptop in front of him, "Do you know if there's a Capital One Bank branch around here?" To which his friend replies, "Yeah, there's gotta be." He proceeds to a Web site, similar to Google Maps, and types in "Capital One Bank". On the Web page red pushpins start engulfing a map of New York City and northern New Jersey. At the same time, in "real life", giant pushpins start falling from the sky creating havoc around the city as they land in front of CapOne branches.

One pin goes straight through the hood of a taxi, which is parked in front of a branch. Another lands right behind a gentleman who is using a CapOne ATM. Another falls right in front of a woman walking a dog at a busy street corner. Yet another drops in front of an entrance to a subway station. Then, back inside the café, through the window, a two-story-high pushpin is seen landing directly in front of a branch. "Hey that one's really close," says the man still looking at his computer screen.

A male voiceover interjects, "Capital One Bank, now with hundreds and hundreds of branches and ATMs."  The television spot concludes with a cab driver, who is standing in front of his recently destroyed taxi, asking the bank's signature line, "What's in your wallet?"

The commercial is amusing and very easily understood: If you want convenience, bank with Capital One. (c) 2008 U.S. Banker and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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