Are Consumers Going "˜Whoo Hoo' Over WaMu's New Campaign?

Beginning in February, Washington Mutual unveiled its new "Whoo Hoo!" campaign which tries to capture how its customers feel about the company’s brand (Figure 1). The bright magenta and blue ads are becoming a ubiquitous part of web navigation to some of the major portals, and it appears that some of the buzz around the brand is infectious given the double digit uptick in search traffic to WaMu’s checking pages since the campaign was launched (Figure 2).

Figure 1: WaMu Whoo Hoo! Creative

Visitors to the WaMu domain rose 5% from February to March. Following the start of the Whoo Hoo! campaign in February, search traffic surged with a 59% boost in consumers visiting WaMu’s savings pages, with a further increase in March (+55%). Yahoo! search traffic to WaMu’s savings pages grew by 69% from February to March, with Google traffic also climbing an additional 13% since February.

Figure 2: Top 10 Consumer Referral Sources to WaMu Checking Pages

Taking a look at the sheer volume of search terms, the numbers are staggering from the first three months in 2008 compared to all of last year. The term "wamu" appeared in searches between January of 2008 and March of 2008 over 1,000% more times than in all of 2007 combined. Clearly the constant presence of WaMu’s ads have made an impact on consumers, as nearly 100% more search referrals have come in for WaMu throughout the past three months in 2008 with the beginning of the "Whoo Hoo" campaign. It appears that the strategies of placement and even the core messaging behind WaMu’s campaign are speaking to consumers who have been in turn actively seeking out the bank. Compared to the traditional messaging from banks, it seems like making an emotional statement with a cute little bright blue and magenta banner is paying off for WaMu. Oh yeah, and "Whoo Hoo" is pretty catchy too.

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