AmeriChoice Ties New Marketing Campaign To Local Gold Medalist

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A mutual dedication to community service and youth education has led to the teaming of AmeriChoice FCU and Olympic gold medalist Diann Roffe in an effort to attract more members.

"She lives in our community. It puts a face on our credit union," Carol Fastrich said, EVP of Marketing for the $100-million FCU.

The campaign is titled "Gold Medal Performers" in reference to Roffe's Olympian athletic ability and AmeriChoice FCU's commitment to member service and its community, officials say.

Roffe was a self-described "dark horse" skier on the international circuit. While Roffe's personal modesty might have kept her out of the limelight, her talent sent her speeding down the slopes in five World Championships and three Olympics. Roffe won the World Championships for alpine skiing at only 17 years old, won a silver medal in the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, and she then took the Super G gold medal at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. A month later she won her final race in Vail, Colo., and promptly retired. Roffe won six U.S. National Championships and was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 2003.

Since her retirement, Roffe has worked as a commentator for ESPN, founded her own ski school and regularly speaks on leadership to organizations and school kids. Roffe met AmeriChoice Community Relations Coordinator Toni Montgomery a year ago while they were both performing community work. Roffe learned about the credit union's youth financial education programs that include student-run branches in local middle and high schools. Roffe said she prides herself for working with local students speaking at school assemblies on leadership and how to recognize life's opportunities. Roffe said she teaches students that the dedication and effort to win in Olympic skiing will work throughout their lives.

"It's not always who crosses the line first. It's how good you are at what you do," Roffe said.

Roffe said when she speaks to the public she wears her gold medal and the most common comment from the audience is that it's the first gold medal they've ever seen. Ironically, the first Olympic Gold Medal Roffe laid eyes on was the one judges hung around her neck in Lillehammer. "I had to win it to see it," she said.

Meeting At Local Chamber

Roffe is also active in the local Chamber of Commerce as is AmeriChoice CEO Kipp Stecher. Stecher said he was aware of Roffe's career but didn't know she still lived in the area. Stecher mentioned her innate modesty and said that Roffe hadn't relied on her Olympic fame to succeed. When they were members on a Chamber golf tournament planning committee, Roffe told Stecher she wanted to help with student education and motivation. "She was very impressed with what AmeriChoice is doing and she volunteered her services," Stecher said. "Someone with her reputation and living in the community is a good connection."

Roffe said she already knew of AmeriChoice's reputation in the community and local schools, resulting in a quick partnership. "It was a handshake deal," she said.

Coinciding with the Olympics and Roffe's student motivational talks in February, AmeriChoice FCU ran 190 radio spots on three local stations, published three weeks of print ads in a daily newspaper and bought five area billboards featuring the two-time medalist. Members who bring along a copy of the ad or just mention it to tellers get $25 in a new checking account. New members can also get another $25 deposited after presenting an old debit card or paper checks or making at least one online bill payment on the AmeriChoice website. Fastrich declined to say how much the ad campaign cost.

Feedback heard

While the advertising campaign ran only in February and during the Torino Olympics, it has caused a noticeable feedback from AmeriChoice's 11,000 members and also the public, Fastrich said. Roffe said she has had great response that includes compliments on the professional look of the ads and one friend cutting out the ad and mailing it to her.

"I've been hearing it everyday. It's been a very warm response, for me," Roffe said.

AmeriChoice FCU officials say they will gather data on the campaign after February and plan more projects with Roffe.

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