How One Bank Cracked the Vault

By Steve Morris

“What could you do with $1,000?”

This is the question Premier Bank of Washington, D.C. posed to area residents as a teaser in its mailing for a branch grand opening celebration last December.

Everyone likes to have a chance to win something, right? Remember the frenzy over buying Powerball tickets when the jackpot was $1.5 billion in January? The good news is there doesn’t need to be a billion dollar jackpot to attract people to a branch promotion. Just offering attractive (not necessarily expensive) prizes will do the trick…and a fun game makes it even more effective.


Crack the Vault

The branch promotion Premier Bank ran last December was called Crack the Vault. Just under 12,000 residents in the immediate vicinity of the branch (about ¾ of a mile) were mailed a postcard with the details of the promotion, including a six-digit “personal combination number” that was unique for everyone.

The grand opening celebration ran for one week from Monday, December 7 through Saturday December 12. Targeted recipients were encouraged to bring their number into the branch to play the game and see if they were a prize winner.

To play the Crack the Vault game, the visitors entered their combination number into an interactive game loaded on an iPad in the branch lobby. The game told players whether they had a losing number or a winning number, and informed them what prize they had won if their number was winner.



The prizes awarded for the promotion were:

  • A Grand Prize of $1,000
  • An iPad Air
  • An Apple Watch Sport
  • A GoPro Hero camera
  • A $25 gift card

In the six days the promotion ran, 185 people came in to play the game, and there were 30 winners.

According to Terrell Braden, Vice President of Premier Bank, the promotion was a huge success. “We had an absolutely fabulous time,” he said. “It was a great success. Crack the Vault actually works, and our staff had so much fun with it.” He also shared that the former mayor got in on the fun and was there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Steve Morris is Vice President and Marketing Manager at WordCom, Inc., Ellington, Conn., a target marketing company specializing in the financial services industry. E-mail: [email protected].