Shortly after graduate school, I worked at Wunderman, the direct marketing agency under the Y&R Brands umbrella. I was a Project Manager on the Citibank retail merchandising account, one of the agency’s largest clients. Wunderman created direct mail packages, financial center brochures and financial center advertising including displays, window slicks, sandwich boards, ATM machine screens, and many others.
In 2004, Citibank unveiled their “Thank You” program, a rewards program that thanked customers for banking with Citi. I worked with some great creative people at Wunderman (Gus Tejerina, Barry Dickson, and Terry Pierce among many others) who came out with some great catchy advertising based on the “Thank You” theme.
At the time, I hadn’t purchased my first domain name, so suggesting that Citibank should buy ThankYou.com was never something I considered. In retrospect, with such a huge branding initiative undertaken by Citi, this domain name was critical for Citibank to own. Up until 2006, the domain name was owned by a company called 800 Brands, Inc. Sometime in late 2006, the domain name was purchased by Citibank, where it now anchors the “Thank You” rewards program.
Because of the major branding done by Citibank and its advertising agency partners, ThankYou.com became an essential asset that Citibank needed. Although they probably ended up paying much more for the name than they would have paid had they bought it before the campaign, the fact that they spent the money shows that they are smart marketers.
When a company unveils a new campaign or marketing slogan, they should always prepare for the best case scenario. They should ask, “if this becomes huge, will people expect to find more information at slogan.com?” If the answer is yes or maybe, they should buy the domain name before the campaign is dropped. Not doing this can result in missed contact opportunities or added expense when the name is needed.