Chase Manhattan Corp. has joined a small but growing list of financial services companies that have launched aggressive television and print advertising campaigns targeted at entrepreneurs.
The $357 billion-asset banking company, which consultants said has a leading market share in the small-business segment in its home market in New York, said the campaign was designed to build on that share and to convey the message that Chase is committed to the small-business market.
A lot of businesses think they're too small for Chase to want them as customers, said Linda Soldatos, senior vice president and head of marketing for Chase's small-business unit. We've never reached out to the market this way.
The ads were created by New York agency Foote Cone & Belding and feature the familiar tagline the right relationship is everything. Chase would not disclose how much it is paying for the spots, except to say it is a multimillion-dollar effort. A broader brand image campaign also produced for Chase by Foote Cone and launched nationally earlier this year cost between $65 million and $85 million, observers said.
Consultants said few other banks have such a major television marketing effort, though many solicit small-business customers by direct mail. Exceptions include American Express Co., which has run a high-profile national television campaign aimed at small businesses for more than a year.
In addition, American National Bank, a subsidiary of Bank One Corp. in Chicago, ran a well-recognized campaign in its home market last year.
Consultants said they expect more banks to launch small-business marketing efforts. There is a lot more of a focus on small-business services, said Charles Wendel, a consultant at Financial Institutions Consulting in New York. It is a large market with good growth prospects and it lends itself to mass marketing.
Mr. Wendel said more than 90% of businesses in the United States are small, privately owned companies that banks are increasingly targeting as prospects for an array of specialized services -- everything from business loans to asset management and estate planning advice. Chase focuses on businesses with annual sales of $3 million or less.
There is heightened awareness of how valuable this business can be, Ms. Soldatos said.
Chase's small-business ads began running in late July on local television and radio in metropolitan New York City, Syracuse and Rochester, N.Y., Houston, and Austin, Texas -- areas where Chase's retail branch network is concentrated.
The spots are scheduled to run through December during late-night news broadcasts, Major League Baseball games, and the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Print advertisements also appeared simultaneously in The New York Times, Fast Company magazine, Entrepreneur, Crains New York Business, and other local media. Ms. Soldatos said a national rollout of the campaign was a possibility in the future.
Like Foote Cone's broader brand image campaign for Chase, the small-business advertising effort features warm, fuzzy images of customers and prospects, and Chase bankers working together.
The spots feature images that would be familiar to many consumers, especially those in New York City: a fish wholesaler, an architectural firm, a garden center distributor, a garment business, and a medical group.