Florida, Alabama CUs Make Plans For 2011 Ad Campaign

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-Credit unions in Alabama and Florida plan to introduce a $2.1-million image campaign next year that takes advantage of banks' poor consumer image.

The campaign, to be overseen by the League of Southern Credit Unions (LSCU), will launch in the spring and target Gen X and uses the tagline: "Credit Unions, We're Giving Banking a Better Name."

Despite credit unions fighting assessments and the economy it's the right time to begin a sustained, long-term cooperative advertising campaign, explained LSCU CEO Patrick La Pine. "Before the economy got worse, the Florida league started looking at this but decided to hold off. But in retrospect we realize it's never been a better time to promote the credit union difference over banks. And research shows that the credit union message is only reaching 50% of people in Alabama and Florida."

La Pine acknowledged that at the end of this year it will be determined how substantial the campaign will be when credit unions give their "fair share" contributions. "The rubber will meet the road when credit unions begin writing checks. Some will have a hard time in coming up with the extra discretionary spending. But I think everyone realizes the importance. Before the end of the first quarter we will know what we have to work with."

To kick off the fundraising, the league's service corporation, LEVERAGE, contributed $100,000 to develop the creative look.

The image campaign targets Gen. X and will use a variety of media platforms, including TV, radio, billboard, online ads, and public relations. A website will use social media as a way to engage members and incorporate peer-to-peer multimedia. The website will also include a credit union finder and financial literacy links.

Because the campaign covers two states, La Pine noted that creative will be adjusted on a regional basis. The CEO said the league and credit unions see the effort as building a strong base for CU growth in Florida and Alabama. "Look at the states that have grown credit union membership greater than the national average-states that have brand campaigns."

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