Bank of America has hired Ketchum to counteract doomsayers' talk of 'the sky falling in' on the first day of the millennium.
Ketchum's mission will be to tell the bank's customers about the thoroughness of its Y2K preparations. 'The bank has been working on Y2K since 1995,' said Carol Hassell, who is taking the lead on the account. 'They felt it was time to tell their customers about all the work they've done.'
But Bank of America, the largest bank in the US, is not claiming there will be no Y2K problems at all. 'There are immeasurable elements they can't control.' Consequently Ketchum will be preparing a crisis PR plan as well communicating with customers, bank employees and the media.
Hassell said consumer interest in the problem has been limited up to now, but Ketchum's research indicates that this is changing. 'The sky falling in stories have aroused public interest, and the stories are moving from the technology press to the mainstream press.'
Ketchum's Atlanta office won the Y2K account, although it is a nationwide account. Hassell admitted that this is a great opportunity for Ketchum to build a relationship with the newly merged bank: 'No one has worked with them until now.'