March 29, 1997 in Nation/World

Banc One Looks To Hollywood Marketing Plan Hopes Tie To ‘Selena’ Can Cultivate Hispanic Customers

Associated Press

Banc One Corp., already a high-profile player in the financial services industry, is hoping to make a splash in Hollywood.

The nation’s 10th-largest bank has put together a $1 million package to link its name with “Selena,” the Warner Bros. biography of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla Perez.

The goal: to bring Selena’s adoring Hispanic fans into the Banc One fold.

So far, banking on the slain singer has been a sure thing. The movie grossed $11.6 million in its first week of release, second behind the new Jim Carrey comedy “Liar, Liar.”

“It’s like an Elvis following in the Hispanic community,” bank spokesman John Russell said.

Many young women who packed movie theaters for “Selena” have the look of their heroine: long, dark hair and burgundy-lined lips. Some patrons were moved to tears by Jennifer Lopez’ portrayal of the Grammy-winning pop star, who was 23 when she was gunned down March 31, 1995, in a Corpus Christi, Texas, hotel room by the former head of her fan club.

The movie role is believed to the first for a bank.

Soft drink makers, cigarette companies, automakers and other consumer product companies have long paid movie producers to feature their products in television shows and films in an attempt to boost name recognition.

“We serve a large Hispanic customer base in the West and Southwest, so it seemed a very logical move to imprint our brand,” Russell said.

The bank got involved with the project about a year ago through a former marketing department employee who knew Selena’s family.

Bank officials, however, had no say over the contents of the film.

The movie opens with Selena performing in a packed concert hall surrounded by Bank One banners, and includes other prominent displays of the bank’s logo. The bank paid about $100,000 for the product placements.

Banc One also plans a series of promotional tie-ins, including checks and debit cards featuring Selena’s likeness, lobby displays touting a movie ticket giveaway to screenings in major Hispanic markets and a $10,000 donation to the Selena Foundation, which provides money for children’s charities.

“It’s pure genius,” said Roger Blackwell, a marketing consultant and professor at Ohio State University.

“The Latino markets are growing faster than the mass market. This an opportunity for a Midwestern bank to gain recognition and generate favorable feelings in areas that it already has a large presence in.”

Blackwell predicted that the rapid consolidation of the banking industry will make it increasingly important for banks to build customer loyalty.

Banc One, which has more than $101 billion in assets spread out over 12 states, is the largest bank in Arizona and No. 2 in Texas.

The movie deal builds on Banc One’s recent efforts to imprint its brand on sports fans. Bank One Ballpark will be the home of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team when it begins play next season. The company also has interior naming rights at Coors Field in Denver, where the National League Colorado Rockies play. And it has committed $35 million over 18 years to a proposed soccer stadium and arena complex in Columbus.

More deals are in the works.

Overall, the company plans to spend $50 million to $75 million annually on marketing, Russell said.

“We’re concentrating those ad dollars so we can have a major impact, rather than dribble the money out in newspaper or television ads,” he added. “When someone thinks of financial services, we want them to think of Bank One.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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