Takin' it to the streets

October 23, 2017 | GET MORE : Life

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U.S. Bank is sponsoring more than 100 street performances by local artists in downtown Chicago. 

Slam poetry. Double-dutch jump-roping. Hip-hop dancing.

These are not activities typically associated with a bank. But anything is possible.

That's exactly the point of #ChicagoPossible, U.S. Bank's three-week tribute to the Windy City and pursuing dreams. 

The bank worked with The Agar agency to pull together a slate of local dancers, singers, poets and musicians to perform at various downtown Chicago street corners three days a week, with "possible just around the corner." People who stop to enjoy the performances can then literally go around the corner to a U.S. Bank branch to talk with branch employees and get free bags of Garrett gourmet popcorn, a Chicago favorite.

The grassroots campaign features 108 streets performances over nine days through Nov. 3.

"#ChicagoPossible is bringing live performers to downtown street corners to show our commitment to the community in a fun and unexpected way," said Bill Fanter, senior vice president and region manager for U.S. Bank in Chicago. "We want to inspire consumers to discover what possible looks like for them and demonstrate that U.S. Bank is dedicated to helping them achieve their financial success and security."

The campaign was a perfect fit for actress Amariss Harris (pictured above, on the right), who will be singing and performing poetry during the three-week campaign, as well as acting as the bank's lead brand ambassador.  

"This is a unique campaign, where I get to incorporate street performance with being a brand ambassador," Harris said. "I've never experienced anything like that – it really fits with my career goals."

Her first love is acting, and since attending college at Jacksonville University in Florida, she has immersed herself in theater and brand ambassador roles for companies ranging from Coca Cola to Visa.

After moving to Chicago a few weeks ago, she already has appeared in an episode in the three of the four NBC Chicago drama series – Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med. Chicago Justice is likely … just around the corner.

"I love the message of #ChicagoPossible, that there are possibilities around every corner," Harris said.

She had just completed the first day of the campaign on Oct. 17, and she said it went well, with a couple of branch locations running out of popcorn before the performances ended.

"It's a very interactive campaign, where people were asking for their favorite songs," Harris said. "And there were a lot of 'in the moment moments' where I was changing the words of the song to include U.S. Bank and possibilities. I was shouting, 'U.S. Bank' at least 15 times an hour. Overall, consumers got what we were trying to put out to them."

Heather Draper is a member of U.S. Bank's public affairs and communications team.