The Arizona Bank
Dailey & Associates, 1982
My very first job in advertising was at Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles as a Jr. Art Director in the Honda Power Products and ArmorAll group. We also handled The Arizona Bank, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. My primary responsibility was doing weekly interest rate changes for Arizona newspapers.
As with all banks, they seem to grow by merger or acquisition. The Arizona Bank was no different and was acquired by Security Pacific in 1986 in order to enter Arizona with an established, state-wide network. Six years later, in 1992, Bank of America further strengthened its Arizona holdings when it completed its merger with Security Pacific Corp. of Los Angeles.
So I saw my first bank client go away because of one merger and then I saw my first checking account go away because of another merger. I’ve been with BofA ever since.
One of the things I loved about The Arizona Bank was its unique architectural accents and the investment they made in stained glass. The sample (on the left) is located in the Bank of America Glendale Arizona visitors center (formerly The Arizona Bank Center). This window is the center piece of the building and lines the staircase to the second and third stories. It is made of 25 separate stained glass windows honoring Native American culture. The second stained glass window (on the right) is in a former Arizona Bank building at Scottsdale Road and McDonald Avenue in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Below are two newspaper print ads from The Arizona Bank’s marketing campaign introduced in the early 70′s which coincided with the banks growth period and their investment in architectural accents within their new branches to help further the look and feel of the bank’s brand.
Back in the day, everyone smoked. So the easiest and most cost effective means of reach out with your brand was by placing your logo on matches. Because there where 20 matches to a book, that basically gave your brand twenty additional exposures during a day, if the average person smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.
The matchbook art was based on a series of 7 plates of paintings by Bruce Timeche of Hopi kachinas. These paintings were based on the kachina dolls that were once in the in the Arizona Bank collection. A few of the artist prints are shown below.
These are several of the prints made by Bruce Timeche commissioned by The Arizona Bank from their collection of Hopi kachinas. The wonderful part of building a brand, especially a brand like a bank, is the depth and alignment a company can create through their history and within the community they took root in. By keeping true to their Arizonan roots, The Arizona Bank built a brand that still can be seen even though they have been erased through several corporate mergers.
I think it would be an impossible task today to find any bank advertising or marketing that resembles anything close to the brand they once were. Yes, “brands” evolve. They also get swallowed by the companies that buy their assets and accounts. Having had to execute these mergers in advertising form, it’s always presented to the public as “this merger” is a good thing as it will broaden the resources and offerings of this financial institution — maybe. More likely it bumped the stock of the share holders and did little if anything for the actual customers of the bank.
So when advertising agencies talk about “building your brand”, I have to ask, do they even know anything about your company? Your history? Or, are they just using advertising and marketing terminology that sounds good in your boardroom?
After 30 year in advertising, I would bank on the later.