Happy New Year!

imageOn the first day of 2012, we found a few financial institutions wishing their customers well, while also informing them of holiday branch closures. Always festive Amplify Credit Union (Austin, TX) had a great look as did First Federal Bank of Florida (see below). 

First Federal also remembered to address New Years Eve hours on Saturday, a more likely question. 

Final note: While you’re at it, also mention holiday hours in your call center and online banking support.


Amplify Credit Union (1 Jan 2012, link)
Note: Amplify switches out its header graphic and logo treatment on major holidays. Here was their Valentine’s look in 2010.

Amplify CU homepage on New Years Day

First Federal Bank of Florida (1 Jan 2012, link)
Note: First Florida had the best New Years graphics. They not only ran two banners, but also used subtle animation to cause the logo and top banner to twinkle when it was moused over. The bank also addressed Dec 31 hours along with those on the official holiday.

First Federal Bank of Florida homepage on New Years day

U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union
(1 Jan 2012, link)

US New Mexico FCU homepage on New Years Day

The Financial Service that Made Ad Age’s 40 Hottest Brands

image The latest Advertising Age profiles the 40 hottest brands in the United States. In the current climate, I wasn’t expecting to see a financial brand. But there was a one financial tech company that made the list.

Intuit’s TurboTax. It even made the cover photo montage (see inset), although you have to look carefully to see the box laying flat in front (note 1).

Who would have thought tax prep software could be cool? Part of the reason: TurboTax’s marketing VP, Andy Young, has been pushing the envelope looking for novel ways to market tax prep services. For example, last year TurboTax was the first company to use a Google program that displayed an Intuit tweet stream on AdSense partner sites such as Facebook, MySpace and VentureBeat (see screenshot below from our previous post). Clickthroughs went to Intuit’s Twitter page, rather than its main website (note 2).

And things were clicking last year for TurboTax with 11% growth to 18 million units, despite an 11% decline in boxed-unit sales. The growth driver? Online of course, up 36% year over year.  

image Implications for FIs: Banks have driven users to TurboTax for years earning a slice of revenue under affiliate deals. But the potential to provide TurboTax services is set to grow exponentially.   As announced in September’s Finovate, tax prep/TurboTax will soon be integrated directly (e.g single signon) in Digital Insight’s FinanceWorks

VentureBeat home page (9 April 2009)


1. I might have missed the TurboTax box, because I was too fixated on the Five Guys cup on the left, which is coming to Seattle very soon.
2. For more info on leveraging Twitter, see our report published in May, Online Banking Report: Connecting to Customers with Twitter.

Top U.S. Financial Brands

Ad_age_logoLast week (July 17), Advertising Age <adage.com> published its annual list of U.S. "megabrands" as defined by total measured advertising expenditures in 2005 (see Note 1, click on link at bottom). The top six, and eight of the top 10 were phone or car brands.

  1. Verizon >>> $1.7 billion
  2. Cingular >>> $1.3 billion
  3. Sprint >>> $1.0 billion
  4. Ford >>> $980 million
  5. Chevrolet >>> $880 million
  6. Nissan >>> $810 million
  7. Dell >>> $780 million
  8. Toyota >>> $770 million
  9. McDonald's >>> $740 million
  10. Honda >>> $640 million

Financial megabrands
The biggest financial brands were American Express and Citi, tied at number 14 with $590 million in 2005 advertising. Seventeen other financial services brands made the top 200, including what has to be one of the biggest surprises in the top-200 list, LowerMyBills.com which spent an estimated $130 million in advertising last year, more than Time Warner, The Gap, or Johnson & Johnson.

  14.  American Express >>> $590 million
  14.  Citi >>> $590 million
  31.  Visa >>> $360 million
  35.  Capital One >>> $350 million
  36.  MasterCard >>> $340 million
  40.  State Farm >>> $320 million
  48.  Allstate >>> $290 million
  56.  Progressive >>> $250 million
  66.  TD Ameritrade >>> $220 million
  72.  Chase >>> $210 million
  72.  Bank of America >>> $210 million
  99.  Wachovia >>> $170 million
  99.  Washington Mutual >>> $170 million
113.  Fidelity >>> $150 million
122.  E*Trade >>> $140 million
134.  LowerMyBills.com >>> $130 million
146.  Schwab >>> $120 million
159.  Ameriquest >>> $110 million
177.  LendingTree >>> $100 million
Total >>> $4,820

Industry spending
These 19 financial services megabrands spent $4.8 billion in 2005 (see Note 2, click on link at bottom). The financial services sector was the fourth largest, trailing automotive, retail, and telecom. In all, financial services account for about 10% of $49 billion in total measured advertising expenditures across 200 so-called "megabrands."



  1. Measured media spending from TNS Media Intelligence includes spending in consumer magazines, Sunday magazines, local magazines, b2b magazines, local and national newspapers, network TV, spot TV, syndicated TV, network cable TV, network radio, national spot radio, local radio and Spanish-language magazines, newspapers, and TV. It does not include Internet spending.
  2. Advertising Age's definitions of financial services are slightly different than ours, since they show industry spending of $4.4 billion while our list of the 19 financial brands amounts to $4.8 billion.