Sovereign Bank, SNY Ink ‘Darling’ Of A Deal

SNY analyst and former New York Mets hurler Ron Darling will soon be pitching for Sovereign Bank.

Darling will serve as a spokesman for Sovereign in the metro New York area, where the bank has vastly increased its presence to around 200 branches, largely through the 2006 acquisition of Independence Community Bank.

“We wanted to make a branding investment with SNY and Ron Darling, similar to the one we have with NESN and [former Boston Red Sox second baseman and current analyst on the regional sports network] Jerry Remy. It’s a strategy that’s worked well for us in Boston,” said Sovereign senior vice president and director of marketing communications and sponsorships Robert Hand, adding the bank has been linked to the network and Bosox for five years.

Indeed, Darling and Remy were on the same set a few weeks back, when the commercials for the upcoming baseball season were shot.

“It’s very similar creative and the commercials were filmed against a white backdrop,” Hand explained, noting they will be ready for the first week of the 2008 campaign. He noted there would be six creative executions, which were still in post-production, with Darling

Hand said Sovereign’s seven-figure investment with SNY includes commercials in all games, plus an increased load on Tuesday nights, when it will serve as presenting sponsor, a position that will be enhanced by on-air billboards during the contests and on-air mentions leading up to the games.

The bank has inked one-year deal with SNY and holds a renewable option, according to Hand.

Asked whether Sovereign considered a schedule on YES Network, the cable home of the New York Yankees, Hand said the bank “looked at the whole market” and thought SNY offered the “best value” and proximity to viewers and its branch locations: Although the bank has a presence in northern New Jersey, many of its outlets are located in Mets “country” of Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.