Talk about marketing and diversification, and getting into pure retailing. Seattle's Washington Mutual Inc., always a pioneer, was selling its equivalent of Barbie dolls this past Christmas. But instead of Barbies, the products were its "Action Tellers." As the ads said, for "Just! $19.95."

"Order your doll today," the campaign said. "Comes with change of clothes."

The dolls come in different sexes and races. "Each teller comes with custom staff apparel, custom teller card, CAN! volunteering change of clothes, CAN! tote bag, cell phone." "CAN!" stands for Community Active Neighbors, a community volunteer program WAMU encourages employees to participate in.

Interesting, U.S. Banker went to press before the results of the sales program were in. If it was successful, WaMu not only would earn a few bucks from selling dolls, but also get a lot of good publicity.

The question is whether selling dolls, even WaMu dolls, is related to banking. Next thing you know, the company will be selling WaMu-brand perfume: Smells like new money.


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