Beth & Paige's Excellent Adventure

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BETHPAGE, N.Y.-One credit union is hoping its members will be taking its brand on vacation this summer.

Bethpage FCU here is encouraging members to take "Beth" and "Paige," the stars of its new television ads and brand campaign, to the beach, amusement parks, sporting events, barbeques and everywhere in between with a contest that could net one lucky individual $1,000.

Members pick up photos of "Beth" and "Paige" at any of the $3.8-billion credit union's branches or download them from its website, then photograph themselves with them (or add them later with Photoshop) during various summer festivities and post them on the credit union's Facebook page. Winners in six categories will receive $100 gift cards and the best overall photo will earn the picture-taker $1,000 towards another vacation. The first 75 fans to upload photos will receive a pair of tickets to Atlantis Marine World.

A CU Twist On The Flate Stanley Project

Marketing VP Jerry Schmitt likened the contest to the Flat Stanley Project and is hopeful that the contest will help integrate the brand campaign across the Internet channel. The CU has promoted the contest through its Facebook page and its July newsletter; it also plans to push it at branch locations. "We also want to see our fan base grow by 10% on Facebook as a result of this promotion. The more people we have following us, the broader our reach on that channel," Schmitt said. "The characters we are using are really the foundation for our advertising. They are our spokespeople so to speak."

The photo contest builds off a brand re-launch that began this spring with the introduction of the "Beth" and "Paige" characters. In just a few months the CU "moved the [brand awareness] needle significantly." According to a Bethpage survey, unaided awareness within the CU's branch footprint rose from 32% in March to 41% in June. Awareness across all of Long Island jumped from 18% to 32%. Schmitt said the CU is likely to conduct another survey in late autumn to see how well its integrated branding approach is working.

Besides the summer photo contest, the 170,000-plus member strong institution is also enlisting "Beth's" and "Paige's" help in promoting its Bonus Checking product, a free checking account that pays interest, while at the same time hitting banks for talking about possibly ending their free checking programs. 

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