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Syrupy CalFed Spots Pour It on Too Thick

AD REVIEWS: Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.

April 16, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: California Federal Bank

Agency: Richards/Gravelle, Dallas

Challenge: Develop a brand campaign that aligns the thrift closely with Californians.

The Ads: TV ads consist of a series of images tied together by CalFed's slogan, "You've got our attention." One ad shows a range of people--a black businesswoman, a female surfer, an elderly male swimmer and so on--as a voice-over by Winona Ryder notes that CalFed "celebrates the differences" among Californians. The second, using some of the same images, invites viewers to imagine what the future looks like. "The future looks a lot like you," the voice-over says.

Comment: In an attempt to carve out an identity, CalFed, which is merging with Glendale Federal Bank, is taking the same syrupy approach used by Home Savings, recently abandoned by Bank of America and adopted by such non-bank advertisers as GTE, Delta, Nike and Toyota. Visually, the ads do little to help CalFed get our attention. Viewers are left guessing as to how CalFed "celebrates the differences" in its lending practices. $$

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