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Local Advertising Connects With Customers Using Inside Jokes

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This story appears in the November 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Bank of Ann Arbor doesn't necessarily want you as a customer. It doesn't want patrons from random towns, in arbitrary states. Locally owned and operated, the Michigan-based bank, founded in 1995, has always had the goal of dominating in its own backyard. Over the last two years, through a series of billboards featuring inside jokes targeted at locals, it has begun to do just that.

Each billboard starts with the words "Non-local banks think" and ends with a wisecrack, such as "Mani Osteria plays for the Tigers" (it's actually a popular restaurant) or "the Jerk Pit is a singles bar" (it's a Jamaican food joint). Many punch lines were crowdsourced during a seven-week Facebook campaign that drew 700 submissions.

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