Japanese Bank Features Ads, Slots and Cellphone Access

New ATMs featuring commercial adsNew ATMs featuring commercial ads
Caught between fierce competition for customers and constant pressure to reduce fees, Japan's Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is now featuring short commercial ads at some of its ATMs in exchange for half-price fees. The ads are just the latest attempt by OK to lure new business by using innovative marketing techniques. Banks in Japan all labor under the same handicap: extremely low interest rates on loans that give them very little wiggle room when it comes to attracting customers. What to do? Well, the more aggressive banks explore other venues, which means either lowering fees or offering gimmicks. Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank has succeeded in combining both while adding a dash of advertising as icing on the cake. The ATM ads are the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by Ogaki Kyoritsu. Past efforts include upgrading their ATMs in 2004 to allow cardless banking, in which customers use their cellphones to withdraw cash, check balances and perform other banking functions. (via Wireless Watch Japan)

Gambling on customer satisfactionGambling on customer satisfaction
More interesting, perhaps, was the summer 2005 premiere of slot machines that play on ATM screens while banking transactions are processed. While not strictly "gambling" because no money is wagered, customers who hit three straight 7s after pushing the "stop" button will have their transaction fee refunded. Even better, striking "gold" or "super gold" (the names of the bank's upper level accounts) results in a credit of 1,000 yen or about $9. (via A Welsh View)

Deposit or withdrawl, it's your callDeposit or withdrawl, it's your call
The launching point for the first series of ATM commercials is OK's Gifu branch located in Japan's Tokai region. Running an average of 6 seconds per spot, the ads get the point across while not forcing customers to wait an annoying long time to conduct their banking. Consumers in the US who are tired with inconvenient hours, indifferent service and ever-rising fees would likely appreciate being catered to for a change - while saving a little change along the way! (via Mainichi Daily News)

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer