First Union Corp.'s brand marketing crusade staked out new territory this week.
Buying three pages in Tuesday's New York Times, the Charlotte, N.C., banking company boasted that it "combines the savvy of a Wall Street broker with the approachability of your local banker."
The ad, which also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, joins an omnipresent television ad campaign that began in February with the same tag line.
First Union has budgeted $85 million this year for television, print, and Web site advertising, as well as brand positioning moves such as sports marketing and sponsorships, according to Jim Garrity, senior vice president, director of advertising, and brand manager.
The print ad, which touts First Union Brokerage Services, shows the bank's commitment to the investment product business, said Paul Werlin, a brokerage recruiter with Human Capital Resources, Clearwater, Fla.
A solid commitment is important not only to customers but to potential employees as well, he added. The ads should convince wary brokers that First Union is in the business for the long term, Mr. Werlin said.
The campaign, developed by Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco, targets adults between 24 to 54 years old. The goal, Mr. Garrity said, is tell customers who might not be familiar with First Union's name who the bank is and what it does. First Union also wants to convince people it can meet all their financial needs.
"We're building a brand to make people aware of who we are, what we stand for, and how we intend to enhance our relationships with customers," he said.
To push this theme in the New York market, which First Union entered when it bought First Fidelity Bancorp. two years ago, turned to the Times. Three pages in the New York region edition costs $217,350. The same ad will appear in local newspapers in all of First Union's markets, Mr. Garrity said.
Though the cost of the Times ad does not come close to the $1.3 million price for the 30-second Super Bowl commercials bought this year by Dreyfus Corp. and Janus Capital Corp., it is much more visible than most bank brokerage ads.
By aligning its name with the brokerage, First Union has demonstrated its commitment to the business, Mr. Garrity said. Indeed, its investment program contributes to the bank's bottom line more than most bank programs, said consultant Kenneth Kehrer.
The average superregional bank's brokerage division contributes 1 basis point to its parent's return on assets, 5 cents to its parent's earnings per share, and accounts for 1% of a bank's bottom line, according to Mr. Kehrer's research.
The return from First Union's brokerage program is above average in all three of those categories, Mr. Kehrer said. He declined to be more specific.
Headlining the bank's investment program is the Cap Account, which combines traditional bank products like checking accounts and certificates of deposits with investment products like mutual funds.
"First Union has really built an infrastructure" for its investment business, said Goldman, Sachs & Co. bank analyst Sally Pope Davis.
But whether the bank's advertising can convince people to turn to First Union for all kinds of financial products is unknown.
"Whether or not it pays off remains to be seen," Ms. Davis said.