Ferns tell the story for local bank

  • Jul 20, 2010

Select small businesses in Manhattan and Brooklyn recently received an unexpected gift — a live fern. The fern served as an introduction to The Park Avenue Bank, a local New York City bank that specializes in serving small businesses. The plant was also a metaphor: While big, corporate banks handle their customers carelessly or roughly, The Park Avenue Bank treats its customers as one might treat a delicate fern.

A hundred ferns were sent out — 25 in Manhattan and 75 in Brooklyn — plus a handful to journalists. Affixed to the pot was a sticker with the bank's name and web site, plus two stakes with care instructions: an informative, pleasantly written one from the Park Avenue Bank; and a humorously dispassionate, bureaucratic one from a “big bank.” “The direct mail campaign was part of a larger rebranding effort for the bank and its web site. Our site has become much more of a resource center for small businesses, and we wanted to communicate that core message to a select group of potential new customers,” says Annamarie Suriano, vice president of marketing at The Park Avenue Bank.

Ferns were selected because they make a different impression than many of the traditional promotional products, and have great staying power. “No one is going to throw out a plant,” Suriano says. “It's likely the fern will stay in their office as a constant reminder of the bank.”

Living plants such as ferns will be kept around for a long time