As other banks tried to find new sources of revenue, many national and regional competitors began changing the terms of their “free” checking accounts to increase associated fees and penalties.
South Shore Bank, on the other hand, takes great pride in offering the financial solutions actually needed by those it serves, including a free checking account that is truly free. The Bank wanted to differentiate itself from those financial institutions offering “free checking” that wasn’t really free.
Our Big Idea
The changes in terms from other banks required extensive disclosure for regulatory compliance. McDougall & Duval proposed going to the other extreme with a simple, direct, and almost irreverent message through outdoor advertising.
The billboard copy featured a large, bold headline that read “FREE CHECKING” with a parenthetical subhead of “(No legal mumbo jumbo required)”. The rest of the billboard was the Bank’s logo and contact info.
The Bank committed $18,500 to the billboard idea, around which M&D created an initial six-month campaign. The number of impressions varied for each board, but the three boards totaled 106,000 in daily impressions (Daily Effective Circulation).
During the course of the campaign, South Shore Bank tracked the number of new free checking accounts that were opened, which totaled 291 accounts and $4.3 million in deposits.
Based on the money spent buying the billboard space, the accounts added during those three summer months represent a 231.4 percent return on investment.