What started as an ad campaign for a local company has turned into a case study in how to successfully utilize the power of social media to reach and engage the community.
On February 20, 2012, Bank of Ann Arbor will launch the first publicly-generated billboard messages around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The billboards will feature the slogans as well as the names of the headline writers who were selected as winners in its Build-A-Billboard Facebook contest.
“This is a very unique approach that was prompted by the numerous submissions we had received from friends of the bank since the “Non-local banks think” campaign was created, explained Tim Marshall, President and CEO. “It speaks to a broader trend of using social media to engage consumers in a brand, which normally plays out on a very large scale with multi-billion dollar companies doing national programs. It just goes to show that even smaller, locally-based companies can use social media to gain awareness and engagement with the local community.”
Bank of Ann Arbor’s “Non-local banks think” campaign, aimed at pointing out the differences between a successful local community bank like Bank of Ann Arbor and those headquartered outside Washtenaw County, has been using clever twists on area landmarks, businesses and public figures since its spring 2010 launch. The campaign, featuring billboards with slogans such as "Non-local banks think Bo and Woody were in Toy Story," won two Ann Arbor ADDY awards in 2011, a gold award for the radio spots, and a silver award for the billboards.
The campaign has also been met with great enthusiasm among the public, as well as local business and non-profits who are excited to see their businesses featured and find out who will be the next one featured. Shortly after its launch, Bank of Ann Arbor started getting emails and phone calls from people volunteering suggestions of local landmarks to be featured, as well as suggesting their own clever headlines. This enthusiasm inspired the bank to launch a Facebook contest for people to submit their ideas.
Build-A-Billboard launched on Bank of Ann Arbor's Facebook page on October 3, 2011 inviting submissions for the “next great billboard idea” using a custom Facebook application created by Perich + Partners specifically for Bank of Ann Arbor. The app created a virtual version of the bank's distinctive green and white billboard displaying entrants’ headlines, and then posting them on the bank’s Facebook wall.
More than 700 “Non-local banks think” headlines were submitted by over 400 unique users during the contest. Weekly winners were chosen, and in November the bank announced eight runners-up and a Grand Prize Winner. Janine Hutchinson, with her slogan “Non-local banks think Mani Osteria plays for the Tigers” was selected as the Grand Prize winner.
Other winners and their slogans that will be on billboards around town are:
• Alain Benighil: Non-local banks think Eisenhower and Packard were WWII generals
• Alain Benighil: Non-local banks think Wolverine Tower is a U-M cheerleader stunt.
• Ashley Edwards: Non-local banks think The Brides Project is a new show on BRAVO.
• Beth Langenderfer: Non-local banks think The Jerk Pit is a singles bar.
• Janet Lawton: Non-local banks think Thurston was stranded on Gilligan's Island.
• Janine Hutchinson: Non-local banks think Alfred Taubman is on the cover of Mad Magazine.
• Karen Farmer: Non-local banks think Kosmo is a character on Sesame Street.
• Steve Marsh: Non-local banks think Briarwood is where Peter Rabbit lives.