Nielsen Stars In New TV Spots From Arizona Federal

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Arizona Federal Credit Union was seeking an actor to demonstrate how easy it is for members to use its products, and it has turned to well-known television and movie veteran Leslie Nielsen, an actor who has made a lengthy career playing bumbling characters.

Nielsen has recorded three television spots for the credit union, two of which began airing Nov. 15. The first features Nielsen at a grocery store, where he is told the only item he needs to access his checking account is an Arizona Federal check card. In the second ad, he walks into an AFCU branch to announce his graduation from "Computer U," which makes him a "pro" ready to use the credit union's online banking and bill pay service. "You don't need to be a computer pro" to use online banking, he is told.

Kristin Leabo, Arizona FCU's communications coordinator, said a third ad, which spotlights the credit union's home equity line of credit, will air in the first quarter of 2006, after the product undergoes some changes.

Six Months Of Planning

According to Leabo, AFCU began looking into developing a series of commercials about six months ago. Steve Kelley, vice president of marketing, worked with an advertising agency to choose the proper spokesperson.

"We thought of people whose characters make things more difficult than necessary, such as Chevy Chase," said Leabo. "Eventually, we settled on Leslie Nielsen, which was convenient because he lives here."

Added Erica Mays, Arizona FCU's marketing consultant: "We went with Leslie Nielsen because he is local, and he liked the script. It all sort of fell together."

The two ad spots currently are showing only in Phoenix-the CU's charter is for Maricopa County plus Tucson-said Leabo. The $1.3-billion credit union serves 170,000 members.

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