FNBO challenges Americans to 'Pay Yourself' and save money

First National Bank of Omaha's online banking division, FNBO, created the "Pay Yourself First Challenge" to encourage Americans to save money and build its position in the social networking community.

Objective: First National Bank of Omaha's online banking division, FNBO, created the “Pay Yourself First Challenge” to encourage Americans to save money and build its position in the social networking community. FNBO launched nationally in March 2007, so the effort, for which planning began a while ago, aimed to raise awareness of its offerings while tying in to a growing awareness of saving. “Online customers are more and more relying on each other to make decisions,” said Dan Harley, VP of marketing and product development for FNBO Direct. “We want to be the online bank that has a trusted position in the Web 2.0 community.”

Idea: FNBO and its firm, Jones PR, decided to play off the popularity of weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser, where those with fitness goals establish relationships with like-minded people. The five finalists of the FNBO challenge strive to reach six-month savings goals to win an all-expense paid vacation. “There are not a lot of ways for people to connect in camaraderie for savings,” said Kristin Jones, president of Jones PR. “There's so much pressure to overspend.”

Tools: From the submissions gathered on its YouTube channel starting in April, five finalists were revealed on pyfchallenge.com, which launched October 6. The finalists will contribute to individual blogs, gather votes from visitors, and receive advice from financial columnist Liz Weston and Bank of Omaha president Rajive Johri during the next six months. The site links to the challenge's MySpace and Facebook pages.

Measurement: The campaign will judge success by media coverage and metrics like the number of site visitors and voters.

Company: FNBO Direct

Campaign: Pay Yourself First Challenge

PR Team: Jones PR

Launch: October 6

Budget: About $300,000, including prizes

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