It’s 1905 and Banks Are Afraid of Advertising

“A bank running advertising? That’s absurd!”

As ridiculous as it may sound, there was indeed a time when banks were afraid of advertising. This article from 1905 suggests banks were actually prohibited from advertising. It was against their “code of ethics,” or something like that. It seems hard to believe, doesn’t it?

The article reported that banks who advertised grew deposits by 22% while those that didn’t lost 7%. Why did the newspaper run a story about this? Because advertising was new and unfamiliar — especially for savings accounts — and this was news. People — especially banks — looked at advertising with skepticism, uncertainty and even fear.

Sound familiar? Sound like anything banks are wrestling with today?

(Hint: social media, blogs, Twitter, etc.)

How long did it take before advertising was accepted as a normal part of doing business? These days, you can expect new technologies and new media to be adopted in a fraction of that time.

Key Takeaway: All ideas are scary…at first. But new ideas take hold fast, and that can leave many behind.

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