Herlihy Promotes Wells Fargo Program With Humor, Nostalgia

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Small business owners who have taken lines of credit from Wells Fargo bank through its EquipmentLine Express program are being enticed with a campaign that includes humor, nostalgia and some financing ideas.

The campaign, created by Herlihy Marketing Group, Oakland, CA, involves a series of four postcards that are being sent to 40,000 small business owners who have been approved for EquipmentLine Express but haven't used it recently. One card asks, "Vehicle financing make you feel like screaming?" and depicts a black-and-white photograph of a boy sitting in a child-size fire engine. Other cards have similar nostalgic photographs.

For Herlihy and Wells Fargo, the challenge of the program was that EquipmentLine Express is inexpensive and easy to get, so many small businesses take it but never use it.

"We wanted to remind people to use it and also to give them some ideas," said Jackie Bailey, Herlihy Marketing Group's director of new business.

The topics of the cards -- vehicle financing, buying office furniture, upgrading computers and hi-tech equipment and financing equipment upgrades or expansion -- were selected because a study of EquipmentLine records showed these were common uses for the financing.

Humor and nostalgia were seen as ideal ways to reach small business owners while keeping with the Wells Fargo image.

"You get more attention with humor and we also found that small business owners are hungry for a break from the typical piles of mail they receive," Bailey said. "We have a challenge of trying to find ways to fit with the image of Wells Fargo -- and while this is not a Wells Fargo Old West image, it's not too far away. We can't really go hi-tech with Wells Fargo."

The first of the four cards was mailed last month, with subsequent cards being mailed at three- to four-week intervals. Because the campaign is in progress, results are not yet available.

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