You may have noticed the commercials airing during recent Atlanta Braves telecasts or amid the Summer Olympics coverage from Rio.
One shows a woman entering a restaurant in a small town and sitting down for a slice of pie. Another has a man walking into a stadium during a “Friday Night Lights” moment with fans packing the bleachers to cheer for their high school football team.
The 30-second spots, which have just started airing in a couple of large markets and on cable networks, mark the return of Synovus Financial Corp. to its “Synovus, the Bank of Here” advertising campaign after a “pause” in spending for about two years.
The hiatus gave Synovus, which is headquartered in Columbus and the parent company of Columbus Bank and Trust, time to do research and gauge the impact from previous commercials that emphasized the fact that its employees live, work, play and volunteer in the communities in which the bank takes deposits and writes loans.
“The research we conducted demonstrated that customers and non-customers want more than just a strong bank capable of offering major services. They also want a bank that gets to know them, and one that builds relationships with them,” said Synovus spokesman Lee Underwood.
The commercials have aired in the major markets of Atlanta and Tampa, which are among the cities in which Synovus operates banks in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. They can be seen on Fox Sports South programming and the Olympics, with a steady presence planned for the upcoming college football season, Underwood said. Other networks on which they will appear include NBC, CNBC, Bravo, Golf and USA.
One of the current ads, dubbed “Brunch,” shows an employee entering Jim’s Place, a casual restaurant filled with diners. She notices Mike, who uses her bank to handle payroll deposits for his hardware store, and Captain Tally, who received a loan for his marina, and Jim himself, who opened three more Jim’s Places across the state with financing from a Synovus bank.
“But today, I’m not here as their banker,” the employee, grabbing a fork to sample the pie, says near the commercial’s close. “I’m here for Jim’s pie.”
The other spot, called “Football,” shows a Synovus employee walking into an energized high school stadium. He spots Jeff, who owns a furniture store and started shipping goods around the world through assistance from the bank, and then sees Lisa, who built an office building with money from Synovus, followed by Dr. Ryan, who purchased a new MRI machine for his patients with cash from the bank.
“But today, I’m not here as their banker,” the Synovus employee says as a team bursts through a large banner. “I’m here for the Eagles.”
The punch line on both commercials: “At Synovus, we do business the way others don’t. Because we live here, too. Synovus, the Bank of Here.”
In its second-quarter earnings data, Synovus indicated the spending on advertising is ramping up, with the company reporting $9.7 million in such expenses through the first half of 2016. That was up nearly 55 percent from the same January-June period a year ago, when the bank’s outlay in that category was about $6.3 million. During its 2014 campaign, the firm spent about $24 million on advertising.
With everything Synovus and its employees have endured over the last several years — including large job cuts and branch closures amid the Great Recession — this looks to be a wise move for the bank. At more than a century old, Synovus is working to differentiate itself from competitors as a more personal way of doing business.