Members Sing, Dance In Virginia CU Spot

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RICHMOND — First there was "American Idol." Then "Glee." And now … Virginia Credit Union?

The $2-billion, 204,000-member VCU has begun airing a new TV ad-with a second to follow-featuring members dancing and singing an original song about their CU.

The songs were written by Elevation, a local ad agency, which was challenged by VCU to develop some new ad ideas "They've worked with us before, they understand the credit union difference, and they understand something about us," said Glenn Birch, public and media relations director for VCU.

He noted the agency had previously worked with members on a spot highlighting the member experience at Virginia Credit Union. This time around, Birch noted, "we signaled our willingness to think a bit broader than we had in the past."

Elevation came back to VCU with several different ideas, but "this was the one that was probably the most out there," said Birch. "We really liked the idea and thought that it would capture people's imaginations. It connects with what people are interested in on television right now, and it capitalized on the way people are sharing video these days on social networks."

More than 75 members auditioned, and local musicians served as judges. "We didn't have any Simon Cowells in the room," quipped Birch. The judges "were warm and friendly and very positive toward our members and what they were judging."

Judges selected 23 cast members for the commercial, while VCU ran a poll on its Facebook page to allow members to determine the final cast member. That move, said Birch, led to "a pretty dramatic increase in the number of fans following us on Facebook." That number has tripled to more than 1,000.

Birch said it remains too early to determine whether the campaign has had an impact on membership growth or loan volume. The spot has spawned multiple stories in local press.

"When you pay attention to what's going on in pop culture, everyone's interested in seeing ordinary people do extraordinary things," said Birch. "That's why programs like 'American Idol' and 'Dancing with the Stars' are so popular; because people are working outside their comfort zones. People are drawn to that. So when they came forward with the idea of using real members doing these things and celebrating the credit union difference in song, we thought that would get people's attention, and that people young and old would respond."

The spot can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxv9WSKRCUY

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