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PNC opens life-size gingerbread bank in Philadelphia

PNC opened a life-size gingerbread branch over the weekend in Philadelphia to promote its annual holiday financial report that calculates the prices of all the gifts in the carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’

Created by Deutsch with some help from Philadelphia’s Bredenbeck’s Bakery, the 340-square-foot bank was made with 5,000 pounds of gingerbread. Those who came through its doors over the weekend could open an account with the bank or use a cookie-covered ATM.

Even though the report, called the Christmas Price Index (CPI), doesn’t change drastically year-over-year – it only grew 0.6 per cent this year to $34,130.99 – Deutsch is responsible for drumming up excitement around the numbers since the bank encourages parents and teachers to discuss the data with kids to help them learn about how the economy works.

At the gingerbread bank, which was open from Dec. 4-6, kids could learn about the gifts and their prices from 12 columns crafted by pastry chefs.

Jeremy Bernstein, EVP-group creative director at Deutsch who has worked on the brief for the past seven years, told The Drum that he liked this year’s idea since it “is sort of fantastical and hard to believe.”

“It’s the kind of thing you imagine being able to do as a kid but never have the ability to do,” he said, adding that he wanted to make sure the bank wasn’t just a popup but was something that could actually function and serve customers.

Those who couldn’t make a trip to the bank could take a virtual tour online, but even so, Bernstein said this year’s project is a departure from the more technology-focused efforts the agency has rolled out in the past for the CPI reveal.

Last year, Deutsch created 12 pieces of content that related to each gift in ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’ including a children’s book about a partridge who lost his pear tree and a short animated film featuring seven swans swimming. The year before, kids were encouraged to go online and customize toy designs based on the song for a chance to have their creation 3D printed.

But this year, Bernstein said the agency took what has “traditionally been a digital and social project” and brought it into the real world.

Lynne Yun, a designer at Deutsch who helped create the illustrations on the columns, said she used art deco elements when designing the bank to give it a regal and classic look to distinguish it from a typical holiday gingerbread house.

“From a design perspective, it’s not every day that you can design something that you can stand in and touch and feel,” she said. “We’re so used to designing in a digital world.”

See more photos of the gingerbread bank below:

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