Wilmington Trust Corp. is using an unexpected image in television ads to sell its investment management services: a woman trying to keep her lollipop-sucking son's pants up.
The commercial, set in the 1950s, might remind baby boomers of their childhoods.
"Remember when you were the center of attention?" the voiceover asks. "At Wilmington Trust you still are."
The ad, which began airing last week and will run through the end of the month, is not comparing potential clients to helpless children, said Ellen J. Roberts, vice president for media and investor relations.
"We're not saying we're going to treat you like your mom," she said. "We're saying that you get undivided attention."
The ad is airing on network and cable channels-including A&E, CNN, CNBC, and ESPN-in the New York, Philadelphia, and West Palm Beach areas, on Maryland's eastern shore, and in southern Delaware.
The campaign will include two more commercials-in one, a man adjusts his little girl's baseball cap; in the other, a mother attempts to tame her son's stubborn cowlick.
All three commercials will run during LPGA golf tournaments in the summer and fall.
The cost of the campaign, developed by Korey Kay & Partners of New York, was not disclosed.
Wilmington is trying to raise its profile in its newest markets, such as New York, where it established a subsidiary this summer. The bank also has offices in California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Wilmington Trust manages $20.6 billion of assets for individual investors.
"They have spent a lot of time and resources really reaching out to the public in the past year," said Norman R. Lubin, chief executive officer of Blue Bell, Pa.-based FMS Consulting, which works with investment companies on sales and marketing.
Before the TV ad, "they were largely invisible," he said.
An earlier TV ad campaign was limited to Delaware, where Wilmington Trust is headquartered.
The campaign reflects the strategy of chairman and CEO Ted T. Cecala, Ms. Roberts said.
"Before Ted became chairman, this company was really looking (just) at Delaware and expense management and reduction, as opposed to top-line revenue growth," she said.
Though brokerages and insurance companies often use television ads to reach wealthy investors, banks rarely do.
And while trust-oriented banks have become more involved in advertising, most stick with print ads. These banks typically host receptions tied to cultural and sporting events or offer investment seminars.
Philadelphia-based Glenmede Trust Co.-which, like Wilmington, has a core clientele of wealthy business owners-shuns mass marketing for such niche positioning.
For example, Charles Aulino, a Glenmede vice president responsible for personal financial planning, will help lead a workshop in the family- controlled business program of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in March. Glenmede manages $14 billion of assets.