As mentioned last week (here), U.S. banks are starting to get more creative with their websites, with 12 of the 30 largest (note 1) injecting a bit of holiday spirit into their websites.
This year, three of the top-30 banks had major holiday themes running on their homepages; in 2004, none did. And today we viewed another nine with minor holiday sprinkles, making 12 in total. Two years ago, four banks had minor holiday-themed promotions.
We expected to see more banks marketing gift cards, one of the hottest holiday gifts, especially during the last few days before Christmas. Only four banks mentioned gift cards on their homepages on Dec. 24 (note 2):
- National City
- North Fork Bank
- Commerce Bank
Here is a rundown of those with major holiday themes:
- Citibank: Citi had the best overall holiday theme as it continued pushing its 5% e-Savings Account, with a clever 5% "ornament" hung next to traditional Christmas decorations (see screenshot below).
- PNC Bank: Runner-up was PNC with its unique brand of holiday marketing, a tongue-in-cheek look at the cost of the items listed in the popular Christmas song, Twelve Days of Christmas. It's a holiday tradition at PNC which has been tracking the holiday index for 22 years (see screenshot below).
- Bank of America: The largest online bank used a holiday theme, and $100 off a Dell PC, to encourage users to join the other 20 million BofA customers using its online banking. Customers hitting the bank's homepage were greeted with an animated banner displaying a wrapped package, which after two seconds changed to the Dell deal (see before and after screenshots below).
Showing before and after package animation:
Other top-30 banks with holiday-oriented images on their homepages:
- Chase Bank: snow globe with 0% credit card offer
- Wells Fargo: packages
- Washington Mutual: snowball with 30-second credit card application
- Citizens Bank: packages with a debit card rewards promo
- National City: snowflakes with gift card promo
- BB&T: packages with a gift card promo
- Countrywide Bank: snow and packages with a loan promo
- North Fork Bank: Radio City promo with $15 off coupon and gift cards
- Commerce Bank: packages with gift card promo
- According to Online Banking Report's list of the 150 largest U.S. financial institutions as of 31 March 2006 (link here).
- Searches conducted during late morning (EST) on Dec. 24, 2006, from a southwest Florida IP address. Although gift cards were not mentioned on US Bank's homepage on Dec. 24, we had seen them advertised on previous visits, although not necessarily on ithe homepage.