Chase Manhattan Corp. is once again trying to hone its image.
The $361 billion-asset bank has launched its second major branding campaign in two years. Like the first, the new campaign uses the now- familiar slogan, "The right relationship is everything."
Foote Cone & Belding in New York created the campaign, estimated to have cost Chase $65 million to $85 million. Print ads began running in major newspapers and financial magazines today. The television ads were scheduled to start airing Sunday during "60 Minutes" on CBS.
Branding has become a major focus in recent years as corporations try to capture intangible qualities that boost product sales and stock performance.
Last month Citigroup launched a branding effort emphasizing its presence in 100 nations worldwide. First Union Corp. has an advertising campaign depicting it as "the mountain" in the world of corporate and retail banking.
Image consultants said banks are trying to give their ads a human dimension while avoiding abstract concepts. "It's becoming increasingly obvious that one-on-one selling is what works," said Hayes Ross, senior executive director at Landor Associates, a brand consulting firm in New York.
Chase characterized this latest effort as an evolution from the first $65 million campaign, which was launched in 1997 shortly after the bank's merger with Chemical Banking Corp.
Then, as now, Chase tried to persuade the public-and particularly investors-that it is a transformed institution, with the scale to rank among the three largest providers in most of its major businesses and a client roster second to none.
In recent months, Chase executives have made it clear they think public perception has not necessarily kept up with reality.
"We need to do a better job explaining to people who we are," Frederick W. Hill, Chase's executive vice president and head of corporate marketing and communications, said in a telephone interview. "It's time to get a little more substantive."
While the first campaign was meant to introduce the newly merged bank, the second hammers home the concept of relationship building.
"Whether we're financing a home in Austin or advising a CEO on a merger ... no hope is too high ... no dream too deep ... when you have the right relationship," the narrative of one of the television spots goes.
Chase consolidated its accounts with Foote Cone last year, ending a dual arrangement it had with the now-defunct Wells Rich Greene BDDP Communications Inc. and McCann Erickson Worldwide. Foote Cone's client roster includes AT&T, the Postal Service, Nabisco, Mattel, and Amazon.com.
The initial ad blitz will last through the end of June and taper off for the remainder of the summer, Mr. Hill said.
A second wave of ads will come in the fall.