Nebraska Bank of Commerce is a local bank in Lincoln, Nebraska with two branches, one of which is downtown, blocks away from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. However, even with their convenient location, they find it hard to capture college students as clients, especially with the partnership UNL has with another local bank. Competitor banks are not allowed on campus, for any reason including UNL’s big outreach events such Big Red Welcome Week for new freshmen, Get Rec’d for all students or even to meet with individual groups and clubs.
One of the primary objectives of their marketing campaign was increasing college student accounts, particularly at their downtown location. They wanted to show they understand the youth market and will be the bank that will meet them where they are and grow with them through life’s milestones.
Unfortunately, banking is not “sexy” to most young people. Most banks do not take the steps to make their brand more appealing to young people, so we had the opportunity to creatively blaze that trail for them.
Nebraska Bank of Commerce allows their patrons to make 30 “foreign” ATM withdrawals every month and charge them nothing to do so. This feature surpasses their competition and thus launched our idea for the #ThanksForNothing campaign. We wanted to take a phrase that had a negative meaning that many college students would use for several other experiences they may have during college and turn it into a positive. While the pizza delivery man might have helped them gain their freshman 15 or campus security might have ticketed them for parking in the faculty lot when they were running late to class, or their dog might have eaten their homework, the “nothing” NBC was charging them was of great benefit.
Getting around the campus restrictions proved to be a little more challenging. We put our creative hats on again and partnered with a local radio station that targeted UNL campus and students in programming and “boots on the ground” outreach. The DJ was a big Snapchat user and had a great following. We made t-shirts, brochures, and a picture frame all tagged with #ThanksForNothing. The frames had strips students could write on stating sarcastic comments on what they were thankful for. Once a month during the three-month campaign, the DJ went downtown and gave out a free meal on behalf of NBC, which was promoted from his Snapchat account as well as on the air. Photos of students with the picture frame then went up on NBC’s social media and promoted to college students, as a follow up to the one-day downtown event to lengthen the reach. Ads voiced by the DJ also ran throughout the three months leading up to winter break.
The brochures were designed with a grunge look that would appeal to students. We made light of all the legal disclaimers that were required to be placed into the brochure by adding some of our own that were light-hearted and humorous.
The campaign worked fast. Shortly after the first downtown event, NBC received their first student account from the campaign. In addition, during those three months, they received a great deal of response from these posts on their Facebook page:
- 20% of their new fans during that time were ages 18-24 (which equaled a 30% increase of fans in that age range)
- Monthly page views increased from 23 to 107 in that three month stretch
- Their post engagement increased by over 600% in the first month, alone