CAMPAIGNS: Promotional PR - New bank breaks the ice with press

Client: Safeway Select Bank (Fairfield, CA)

PR Team: Peter Webb Public Relations (Centennial, CO)

Campaign: Cold Hard Cash Time Frame: July 15 - August 29, 2001

Budget: $20,000

Rachael Robinson, account coordinator at Peter Webb Public Relations

(Webb PR), indulges in a bit of understatement by saying, "It's never an

easy task to generate media interest for a new bank in town."

With that in mind, staffers at Webb PR wanted the opening of Safeway

Select Bank's new Phoenix branch to not only generate media attention,

but gain notoriety as one of the coolest contests in Phoenix



The agency only had six weeks to come up with an idea that would get

people excited about the opening of a bank branch, plan it, promote it,

and put it to market. The goal was to stage a unique event to help

generate consumer interest as well as television and print news

coverage, and bring potential bank customers into the in-store pavilion

for the first time.

Playing off the sweltering Phoenix summer heat of 115 degrees, the Webb

PR team decided that a "Cold Hard Cash" contest would prompt the hottest

media outlets in town to cover the bank branch's ribbon cutting.


Ten ice sculptures were created, fashioned into shapes such as computer

terminals, grocery bags, and dollar signs, and frozen inside each was a

cash prize. $10,000 was divided up among the ice sculptures.

More than 400 people registered, and 10 got the chance to melt their ice

blocks and take home whatever cash they could get their hands on.

No cracking, no dropping - contestants had to rub the ice to get at an

envelope frozen inside, containing a cash prize ranging from $500

to $5,000.

To help promote the contest and attract entrants, Webb PR invited local

TV stations to shoot live video on the morning of the event. The agency

also created promotional brochures, posters, and announcements to be

distributed within the Safeway store. Also, to ensure the reason behind

the event - the bank opening - was not frozen out of the coverage in

favor of the cool angle of the contest, Webb PR organized an opening day

news conference inside the Safeway, right at the Select Bank in-store



"Our strategy was to draw the media in with the sweepstakes, then

generate interest in the banking side of the story," says Robinson. "And

it worked."

The Arizona Republic ran a front-page business story and color photo of

the event, and three network affiliates covered the event and news

conference. According to PRTrak, the ad-value equivalency of the

coverage was $197,000.


"Our success in Phoenix has landed us continuing work with Safeway

Select Bank," says Robinson.

Webb PR and Safeway Select Bank are planning additional launches in

other Western states, as well as a one-year anniversary media tour for

Safeway Select Banks in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona.

Pretty cool stuff.

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